He wanted us to listen to his new song, that would be on his EP which was releasing in a few months. We were at home, cozy in the living room. We helped Ian onto the couch and Caleb started the recording. Just a few notes in, "Is this song about heaven?" I asked. The sound, the feeling and the solemnity said it.
"Yea," Caleb grinned sadly.
I braced my heart for what I knew would be three minutes of five years flooding into my mind. From Ian in the ICU with a blood-draining tube connected to his brain to sitting with Mary and three of her children as Steve met God, the memories would themselves relive, right there next to me on the couch.
This song of heaven was so sorrowful because death means someone is left behind, sad. But it beautifully mixed with rejoicing and a quiet excitement for our reality that is yet to come.
"I smell the creep of Death but his smell is sweet to me."
Heaven is so real and so perfect and death is so sweet and can’t come soon enough. Our dad, while he was dying from brain cancer, it slowly tearing down 49 years of a well-equipped body, spent 45 minutes writing this note to his friend:
Dave, I can't write or talk very well at the moment but I wanted to thank you for the note and gift.
As for my soul, it is well. I can’t wait for heaven! With each treatment, I look forward to my graduation day! If the Lord keeps me here longer, I’m content. But I can’t wait!
A copy of his note sits on my desk at work and its permanence is written on our hearts because those words are what he lived and died for. Our dad sees fully now. Our dad sees why his son Ian was called to live a wearying and weak life. And from the day he died, the impression has remained on my heart that if he could speak to us now, he would whisper gently "Keep going. Keep going. It is worth it."
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)
This marriage and this life is temporary. We may only have one more week of marriage before one or both of us meet God. And that is the day that we want to live for. That's the day that this marriage was built for.