Outside looking in

Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
~ The Matrix (1999)

I had a painful preview tonight of what I sometimes imagine it will be like to be dead. I had a wonderful date three feet across a table from my husband. We talked about the kids a lot. I followed him back to my aunt and uncle's house, where the children were, and quietly parked my car, lights off, to watch them through the window. Those ten minutes spent watching their dear little mannerisms and hearing little whispers of their laughter and gay voices through the pane of glass that separated us were exactly what I imagine it would be like to be dead...exquisitely wonderful and exquisitely painful at the same time. To see and not touch, to hear and not feel. To be an observer in what "should" be my life. It was more than I could bear, and I left in a rush for a little Indian restaurant on the corner, where I'm sure they thought I was a little insane, rushing in with tears streaming, frozen to the core and begging for a cup of hot tea (a cup of cheer, the real, literal soul-cheering kind, is what I really desired at that moment!).

I wish I could leave it at that, that my soul didn't force my brain to go deeper into the issues that underlie this entire vignette and make it so exquisitely painful. The true issue is one of the heart, one of selfishness. For I have selfishly absorbed that entirely humanistic idea that my life is my own to live, my deserved right. In truth, it is a gift, each day and each hour. In truth, God would faithfully provide if my death comes about while my children are still babes. For it is not through me that they consist...it is through God in heaven. In truth, my death will not be tinged by these human sorrows. Although it is incomprehensible to me now, my death will not be the script of It's a Wonderful Life, for although each of us adds a remarkable human thumbprint to the existence of others, that is all it is. It is the spark and thumbprint of the divine that makes our lives truly remarkable, and it is the mercy of the Almighty that promises a death of joy instead of one of aching loss...for I will turn mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow, promises our God (Jeremiah 31:13). I do not die to cry over the loss of my life, but to rejoice in the life I have gained because of the death of my Savior! What a full circle we come!

It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ~ Titus 2:12-14

There'll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes...
There'll be no more sorrow when Jesus comes...
There'll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes,
to gather His loved ones home!
~ William Orcutt Cushing, 1823-1902

The song of my heart tonight can only be captured in my absolute favorite Italian aria, Nessun Dorma. I have included it here sung by the untrained and absolutely beautiful voice of the unlikely Paul Potts. Here are the words and the translation:
Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o, Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza,
guardi le stelle
che tremano d'amore
e di speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
che ti fa mia!
(Il nome suo nessun saprà!...
e noi dovrem, ahime, morir!)
Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!
vincerò, vincerò!

Nobody shall sleep!...
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know...
No!...No!...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!