Published March 22, 2016

Shelia Shares
"Life & Death"

Saturday a week ago was a strange day for me. The morning of March 12, 2016, the first Facebook post I saw was Christie sharing that they had found her daughter dead in her bedroom. She had some medical problems, and they ruled her death from natural causes. She was 29, the same age as our younger son.

In the evening, Paul and I attended a Garden Spot concert with the Booth Brothers and the Erwins. Over many years, we've become friends with most of the volunteers who help with concerts.

I had thought about Gloria, one of the volunteers, earlier that day. Just this year, she took her mother to the emergency room one morning and she left the hospital by herself that same day. I know what it is like to lose a mother. For her mother, life was over just that quickly.

As I was chatting with the volunteers and artists, someone mentioned Jerry. When I questioned further, I found out he had died last fall. I was stunned. Jerry and I sat backstage at many concerts and talked about everything. He had interesting stories to tell and he had a great sense of humor. I remembered looking for him at the last concert and wondering if he was traveling or if he was sick. I had missed him but I hadn't known he had died.

When Lloyd joined us, he came over to give me his usual concert hug. He told me that he had lost 30 pounds in the last month and was diagnosed last week with pancreatic cancer. The doctor told him he has 3-6 months to live. Probably seeing my face, he told me that it's OK because this is what he's been waiting for much of his life.

Lloyd told me that he was in the minute market talking to a man waiting in line ahead of him. He told the man about what was happening in his life and the man replied, "Your religion will get you through this." Lloyd told him, "It's not a religion. It's a relationship with Jesus Christ. If I wake up and it's morning, then it is a good day. If I don't wake up, it's an even better day."

As I continued back stage, I saw a couple coming down the hallway. I recognized them as my neighbors in the apartment house from 35 years ago. I hadn't seen them recently, but knew Lem had been battling incurable stomach cancer for the last number of years. Since I get their email health updates, I also knew that his most recent medical scan had come back with a cancer free result. Lem reminded me that a couple of years ago, they had planned to remove his stomach and that they were told no one recovers from this cancer. Then Lem said, "Don't tell me that God doesn't perform miracles any more. I'm proof that He does."

Why do some people get well, while others die? I don't know. It is in God's hands.

The doctors don't know how long you have to live. They can only predict. You don't know how long you have to live. Your life is in God's hands.

Some people spend their time on earth waiting to die. As long as God gives you breath, choose to live. But, be prepared to die. Then you have the best of both worlds. It is all in God's perfect time.

- Shelia

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