Everyday, dying is a part of our lives. We don’t like to think about it. If we stay busy enough, distract ourselves with entertainment and intellectual pursuits, we can ignore it, even deny the inevitability of it. Why not? Young people exude an air of invincibility; those of us who are older know better, but we’re just as likely to adopt the same mindset … I’m going to live forever!
Still, it’s hard to ignore what our bodies tell us. It’s even harder to be oblivious when others around us are suddenly gone.
A couple months ago, in one of my Sunday Book of Job posts, I contrasted life events experienced by three different young women, all with seemingly incurable cancer. One was miraculously cured, another pre-empted the cancer by taking her own life. The third, a brave mother of four children, has been hanging on, chronicling her life experience on a blog titled Mundane Faithfulness.
Over the last couple weeks, the posts have come less frequently … because Kara Tippetts’ life is drawing to its close. (Previous posts have recently been removed from the blog itself – likely due to the release of her book in October – but her candid and moving cancer story can still be found here.
According to the blog post of December 29th, Kara’s husband notified hospice; she called it “the impossible phone call.” Every word of this post, By Degrees – Living and Dying, is a testament to her honest – broken-hearted but honest – faith. This is a woman whose spirit is strong even as her body delivers insult after insult in its inexorable march to the grave.
I don’t know Kara Tippetts. Knowing her would be an honor, I’m sure. But she is my sister in Christ. Her spiritual vigor amazes! Her devotion to Jesus Christ is mighty to behold (from afar). The sonnet below is written to honor her. Certain phrases in the sonnet come from Kara’s post: press into love, degrees of dying, I have Jesus. The image in the first quatrain (a body switching its mechanism of living to one of dying) comes from her verbiage.
In Glory, how I look forward to meeting her in person! All praise to our Lord whose love is from everlasting.