Akhil asked me to write a blog for him this week. When I asked him if he had a topic in mind, he fervently gestured “yes” by raising his eyebrows and opening his eyes wide. We went through the tedious process of me trying to elicit a response as I said a series of numbers and letters that allowed him to spell words. Akhil spelled out “Left Behind”. Knowing that he was a fan of that series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, I asked him if he meant a blog about being left behind from a spiritual perspective. He responded, “No” by closing his eyes. I asked if he meant left behind from a physical perspective to which he responded “Yes” by raising his eyebrows and opening his eyes wide.
Hmm… Interesting idea. Akhil has suffered from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) from as long as I have known him. He would always want to be the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave; better yet, he wanted to be the host of the party. As I watch Akhil labor for each breath, I am convinced that he is clinging to life because of FOMO. Perhaps he wants me to write about what life will be like for those of us left behind after he is gone so he can “experience” it and feel as if he is not missing out.
Akhil, life will continue here on earth after you are gone. Most people will live their lives oblivious to the struggles you have dealt with and not noticing that you are gone. There will be a close circle of people who have walked with you through this entire journey who will mourn a life lost too soon and yet, a part of them will rejoice that your suffering is over. Those of us left behind will continue to deal with life’s hardships, handling daily sorrows and joys without being able to share them with you. We will be sad that you are not with us but as the planet still rotates, our lives move onward as we journey toward fulfilling our own destinies.
While probably not your intention, I think the real purpose in writing this blog is not to focus on those of us being left behind, but rather on all that you will be leaving behind. Akhil, I assure you that compared to where you are going, you will not be missing out on a thing. You will probably wonder why you didn’t surrender to this disease sooner so you could leave the worries and pain of this world behind and enter the paradise of total healing. Yes, you will leave your family and friends behind to finish out the plans for their lives but you will also be leaving behind
- a body that refuses to cooperate with you,
- fear of not being able to take your next breath,
- being dependent on others to bathe, dress, feed, scratch, shave, and care for your every need,
- the isolation of spending day after day watching television passing time because everyone around you is too busy to simply sit down with you,
- sorrow about thoughts of what your life would have been,
Populated with loved ones,
There will come a day when you can rest in this vision of the place you are going, when it will be more appealing than what you are leaving behind. On that day, I have a mental picture of you standing crossing your arms across your chest, looking up to the heavens and just letting go, falling backwards into the waiting arms of Jesus where there will be no more FOMO.