What dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give vs pause. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus! Steal away, steal away home, I ain’t got long to stay here
From “Steal Away”-American Negro Spiritual
I write this with a heavy heart and mixed emotions. Early Tuesday morning, my older sister June is made her transition from this Universe into the next. June was a breast cancer survivor several years ago. However complications (which need not had to happen) caused the cancer to spread. Over the months since her arrival in late January, June had steadily gotten worse: from being coherent and conversational, to being unconscious and fighting pain.
As I drove home one night before June’s passing, I played the above Spiritual, “Steal Away.” Although it hearkened from slavery times and spoke of longed for freedom; the song spoke to me this evening. And the quote from Hamlet spoke to me as well about when we transition. We all “ain’t got long to stay here”. For one day, each and every one of us will have to shuffle off this “mortal coil” and “steal away to Jesus.” One day, our bodies will get tired of the years-no matter how pleasant they may be.
Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not ready to book up out of here yet. I too want to be around to enjoy my golden years with my wife, see my son grow into a fine young man, see grand kids, and enjoy my life to the fullest. However, time and everything else will catch up to me. Even if I live a long life and have all my faculties with me, I too will have to let go and move on.
For June, she finally stole away to Jesus, and shuffled off her mortal coil. When I saw her late Tuesday morning before the mortician came to get her, I saw the effect of the pain on her face-it wasn’t pretty. However, I could also see that she was at peace; that June was home now and never had to deal with the ravages of a monster called cancer.
However for now, I sit and deal with the loss of a sister only 6 years older than me; who passed a year after my Mom. I still go through the numbness of loss despite the fact I’ve been preparing for it for months. I realize that despite all we can do as humans, the old spiritual keeps playing in my mind:
“I ain’t got long to stay here…”
Rest easy, June. You’ve come to the end of your Christian road trip and reached that destination home We’ll catch up to you one day and see you when we get there.
Grace and Peace.