Remember you must die. Not words I’ve uttered too regularly if ever at all.
Memento mori is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. –according to Wikipedia
This Latin phrase beckons to each of us to remember that we must die. Death has smacked me straight across the face; sometimes in shocking ways, sometimes in long battles of illnesses and every time with a deep grief that floods me with emotions. When my Granny passed away I found my faith shaken to its core. I had a longing to feel the same peace and trust that I saw in my Mom’s face and heard in my Uncle’s voice, as they belted out hymns of assurance at her funeral service. God I know you, I’ve walked with you, I’ve believed in you, help my unbelief. I think embracing doubt and exploring it deeper with God during that year afterwards was a gift that my Granny would be grinning upon as she saw my soul move deeper to the Savior she walks in bliss with now.
The older I get it’s inevitable that those around me will continue to pass away. I come from a family of deep faith and without it I have no idea how we would grieve. How deep the hurt of grief without the hope of knowing our Lord hated death as much as we?How beautiful that He laid down his life to pay the price of conquering death once and for all? And yet, we still miss the ones who get to meet Jesus before we do. We still have the daily routines, the memories, and the traditions we once shared with them. The next unknown are the hardest steps to take.
“Ladies love your husbands well and don’t take them for granted,” my aunt softly stated out as a call, a plea, a reminder, “So much to think about….” To have loved and lost a man that was your best friend is a journey I’ve yet to endure personally and have no idea the depths of heartache that it brings. I’ve seen so many women who I love suffer great loss and chart new paths ahead into the next unknown.
Tomorrow really is unknown for each of us though. We think we know what it will look like. We think we know who will be there when we make up tomorrow morning. We think of course we will make up tomorrow morning and go tackle that to-do list and all the other things fighting for space in our neuro highways.
Memento Mori; remember you too must die. Tomorrow isn’t promised. One day will be my last. When I look back what will really matter? What to-do list item is so important to take away time from hearing about my daughter’s work day? What argument is so worth winning that I don’t see my husband and hear his heart on the issue? What work is so pressing to accomplish that I can’t sneak away time with my coffee and conversation with my Jesus? Grief is hard and so mysterious, and yet so beautiful in the call to action it reminds us that we must die. We must remember to live each day. And in each day’s living to remember that we must die.
My prayer tonight is that if you are reading this and feeling unsure of faith that you take it to God. Ask him to bind your wandering heart to him. Ask him to make himself known to you through Christ if you don’t know that gift and the love that gave it all up just for you. Ask him to strengthen you with a peace that transcends all understanding as he leads you into the next paths while they may still be unknown.