My sister, Twila, was mentioned while Terry and I were eating supper today. Twila had Down’s syndrome. She loved pizza and Pepsi. She was born in 1954, five years before doctors knew what caused Down’s Syndrome. Because my mom had 7 other kids when Twila was born, she went to live in what was then the Beatrice State Home. When I was thirteen, Twila came back home to live with us. She worked at the sheltered workshop, sorting pop cans and hardly missed a day until her health deteriorated.
Twila enjoyed coloring and watching game shows. Twila could not read or write anything other than her name. She didn’t understand money, time or how to use the phone. She could mostly count to 20. She loved going to church. She loved Jesus, with all her heart. Jesus Loves Me was the only song she knew all the words to although she really liked music and watching old re-runs of Lawrence Welk.
Twila most likely had early on-set Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home when she died. She was a self-proclaimed “Old Lady” at the age of 55. After she died, she was cremated and my brothers and other sister met for her memorial service. Since we were planning to scattering her ashes, the crematorium placed her cremains in a box appropriately labeled “Temporary Container.” When I noticed those words molded into the plastic container, I pointed it out to the rest of the family and chuckled.
Twila had gone from one “temporary container” to another. I often think of that little temporary container.
I like the paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 in the The Message :
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
On the outside, it does look like we are falling apart. It’s because this body, this home the soul lives in, is temporary. It’s on the inside where God is making life new. Not a day goes by without His grace working in us.
Life seems so permanent; work, school, the daily grind, we do those things so regularly and in such a matter-of-fact way, we forget this world is really “small potatoes” compared to the lavish celebration God is planning for us.
I don’t know what is happening in your life but regardless of how permanent it feels, it’s temporary. Are you like me right now, trudging through life, sometimes thankful for the end of the day? Take heart it’s not here to stay. Are you struggling with overwhelming tasks of deadlines, physical pain, disappointment, betrayal or the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring?
It’s temporary. Our permanent home is not here, it’s not this tangled mess. The believer has an eternal home being planned in heaven, by The One who loves you most.