Death is not the enemy, for it has been conquered by the Lord Jesus Christ. He rose the third day, defeating death forever. Death cannot keep me from Hans. No, death will reunite me with him.
And distance is not the real enemy, either. Hans’ body, though inanimate, is here with us at home, buried thirty feet from where he worked on his car, in a spot of woods he cleared himself last summer. His spirit, though far, far away in the third heaven, is with the Lord. And the Lord is always near. Hans and I are together in Him.
No, the real enemy seems to be time. Time, like death, is irreversible. Like dropping an egg on the floor. There is no remedy for this. You cannot un-drop it.
Or, like an avalanche. You cannot shove it back up the mountain. It does not care about your problems. It smirks at your powerlessness.
For now, time is an inflexible law of nature. Clocks, calendars, and longing are its weapons. Time will not be hurried, cannot be undone. Time is non-negotiable, unsympathetic, is no respecter of persons. It is relentless, unfeeling, merciless.
The end of time, which is when I will get to see Hans again, is a rest stop beyond the horizon at the end of a long, hard road that stretches out before me with no end in sight.
Time is what separates me from Hans. I cannot speed it up. I cannot turn it back, cannot un-do it. This pain must be lived through. Lived with. The anguish that is Now.
The finality is astonishing.
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
-Henry Van Dyke
But, on the other hand, time is also my friend. Unlike people, time can be depended on. Nothing can stop it. Time passes. Time is temporary. Time is an earth-space, creation-bound phenomenon. It is stretched out and slowed for man’s benefit, so that all may come to repentance.
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more”, our Great God and Savior will come for me and our son will be with Him. Time loses in the end because at the close of every day I am one day closer to seeing Hans again.
It is the waiting, though, that is so very hard.
But wait I must. I must not selfishly demand He come back right now. I was born in 1961. What if the Lord Jesus had come back in 1960? It would have shortened the wait for a lot of bereaved mothers, but I would never have become a mother at all. What if He had come back in 1994? Hans would not have been born yet. And what if He had come back in 1988? I was not saved yet.
For now, I need to peek around the edges of this looming giant called grief and remind myself that it is not all about me and my pain. I need to stand up under the crushing weight of this deluge, this waterfall of sadness that crashes down on my weary shoulders as I miss my boy. I must get out from under this drowning torrent of tears and breathe the fresh clean air of Truth; to open my eyes and see the sun that still shines on me, that has been shining all these months of sorrowing.
The Lord has business yet to conduct in His universe. There are people to be born and souls to be saved.
I had better get busy.