True confession: I am terrified by the very thought of babysitting. I don’t know if it’s PTSD from feeling emotionally abandoned during my childbearing years, or if it was from never babysitting as a kid (since my dad outbid the $.50 per hour rate for babysitters 50 years ago by paying me $.60 per hour to grade papers for him)…or…I just have a personality defect and find the thought of being the captive audience for a two-year-old more stressful than sitting in a dental chair.However, yesterday I managed a timid foray out of my comfort zone to spend the day with this radiant and wonderful family! I’ve known Emily’s parents since childhood…used to work out with Emily’s mom when she was expecting Em’s older brother, rejoiced in Emily’s birth, and have followed her growth for years.And so, when I heard that Emily had broken her arm, had a flooded basement, and needed help so she could be with her mom during a surgery in Ann Arbor…well, my love overcame my fears, and I rose to the occasion (by grace ye are saved)! Besides, these three red-headed adorables are being homeschooled, so what’s so hard about that? After 7 kids and 25 years of homeschooling, you’d think I could watch some especially well-mannered children for one day, right? True fact: I survived. No, I more than survived. The kids were truly gracious little hostesses and took great care of me all day. In fact, they played as sweetly as my daughter, Kathy Kris, when she was little, and it made me sorry that I somehow hadn’t managed to have six daughters as well as six sons! I’m just finishing this book, which I’d taken with me when I babysat (not that I read much, but I take a book with me everywhere). The idea of understanding death from a Christian perspective is very much on my heart these days, not only because of Emily’s mother’s surgery, but because I literally have over a half a dozen close friends around the country who are currently grappling with serious cancer issues, and because this Friday Alan’s sister would have been celebrating her 68th birthday had she not died of cancer last Mothers’ Day. If you or any of your loved ones are facing the issues of death and dying, I recommend this book very highly. It’s not a gloss-over-the-issue-with-platitudes sort of work. Dr. Wittmer looks Death straight in the eye, wrestles with the issues, and shares insights and hope from the scripture. Death is our enemy, but for the believer, death has been conquered by Christ, and it is via the final surrender to death that we begin to experience unfettered, real, eternal life.
We may be terrified by the very prospect of death, but we don’t need to be. I’m not suggesting that death is a piece of cake, but I truly believe the Lord used the challenge of babysitting as an object lesson. When the crises of life and death come, God will give us the grace to venture out of our comfort zone, and when it’s time to say goodbye to this life, I believe we will leave secure in the sense of God’s goodness and grace, and all will be well.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?…But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55,57)