I have only personally witnessed a person die once. It is such a holy moment. That thin vale that separates our earthly life from eternity is removed and everything that was deemed valuable is stripped away.
That one occasion was at the Orlando airport. Chris and I flew into Florida to lead a marriage retreat for the weekend. We were having issues with the car rental company so we were delayed in leaving the airport. While we were stranded, we decided to go get lunch at a restaurant in the airport. As we were eating, we noticed this cute elderly couple sitting at the table next to us. I even wondered where they were going? They seemed relaxed, but ready for travel. Half way through our meal, we noticed that the husband was standing next to his wife poking her with his hand, as though he was trying to wake her up. Another person noticed too and approached the woman to check for her pulse. This person was a medically trained individual because very quickly, he grabbed the woman out of her chair and placed her on the ground beginning chest compression and shouting for an ambulance. The paramedics arrived quickly and began their full attempt to resuscitate the lady. The electric paddles were used many times as this went on for several minutes. The poor lost husband sat at the table in a state of shock.
As for me, all I could do was cry. I sat at the table silently crying and praying “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world” over and over and over.
I didn’t know this woman, but that didn’t stop me from pleading with Jesus to have mercy on her soul and grant her his peace. It was one of the most holy moments I have ever experienced in my life. To witness a person’s life energy leave the body and to realize that the shell laying on the floor no longer contains her soul left me shaken to my bones. It was like a thin, fragile veil was removed and life was over.
I am reminded of this emotional, tragic experience in Orlando every year on September 11th.
13 years ago, just like millions around the world, our family sat in silent awe as those two pinnacle of architecture collapsed snuffing out the lives of thousands of people. It was a surreal moment... a moment of disbelief. In those few seconds, my heart felt like it was going to burst. The world watched as that thin veil was removed. Life after life after life was extinguished... never to be relit.
Our lives truly are fragile. That thin veil in our own lives can be removed without warning too. I often wonder about the plans that elderly couple had. Were they flying home? Were they visiting family? What dreams died with her that day?
I thank God for life. I thank God for another day to prepare for meeting him beyond that thin veil. May I live worthy to warrant a holy death. May I live fully giving glory to my creator. And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace and may God have mercy on us and the whole world.