Life ends, for a new beginning

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By Judith Sutherland

I awoke this morning to the news that yet another fellow, a retired dairy farmer from this community, has gone to the great beyond.

I have recently spent time thinking of our next journey, reading a book entitled Heaven, by Randy Alcorn.

A dear friend, who is working through the grief of losing a second son to sudden death, had told me of the book and how it is helping her gain spiritual strength and perspective.

Karen lost her oldest son to a sudden heart attack a few years ago while one of her other sons was pinned beneath a rolled-over tractor while clearing logs from the family’s woods.

Chain reaction

While the injured son, a twin, was finally rescued and taken from the scene by Life Flight to a regional hospital, paramedics worked on his older brother who had collapsed on the scene while witnessing the attempted rescue.

Karen made the agonizing decision to accompany her oldest son to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. In April of this year, the twin brother who had prayed his surviving brother through his injuries, collapsed while running after work one day.

He did not suffer, and in the days following his death, his friends and family said he had recently spoken of dreams he’d been having of life after life. Taking in the news of yet another loss in Karen’s life was tragic beyond words.

I have walked this journey with this dear, strong, amazing woman, who has suffered more tragedies than the space of this column allows.

Enduring faith

Through it all, her faith remains as strong as steel, and she is unflinching in the desire to help others deepen their belief.

We have talked many times of collaborating in writing her life story. She lifts us all up as she stands strong, an inspiration to be a better person.

As we walk through our days here, jostling for a better life, we humans ridiculously worry over such mundane things as though we alone have control and deserve a perfect outcome to whatever might be troubling us on any particular day.

Worry never changed a thing. We are here for such a short time, a speck in the universe, and our daily concerns will fade so fast there will certainly be no memory of what once troubled us.

Using Biblical references, the author, Alcorn, spent years researching this large book, which covers such ageless questions as will we still be the person we have been in this life, will we see loved ones, will our beloved animals be there after we leave this earthly life to journey onward.

It is lovely to read Alcorn’s book, in which he says the answers are all yes to those three specific questions.

And beyond that, we will continue to make new friends, new discoveries, a new Earth, restored to grandeur beyond our imaginings.

The physical pain and emotional agonies of this life will fade, replaced by an unending, peaceful joy. When we mourn the loss of a loved one, we are merely grieving for ourselves.

The end is a new beginning, and the day will come for us all.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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