The 9th Floor

As I stepped off the elevator of the ninth floor I was greeted by large picturesque glass windows overlooking a preserve of lush green trees and blue sky. As I turned to go through the corridor there was a large display of letters that read “Maternity Care and Hospice Care” both entrances going in opposite directions. As I thought about it, I thought how ironic it was to have both new life and death, all on the same floor.

During this visit we were going in the direction of hospice care. As we arrived at the nurses station there were beautiful butterfly decals on the glass windows and the patient we were visiting had a butterfly decal on her wall right above her head.  I began to realize there was an indefinite theme and as I researched I found out that the butterfly represents freedom, death, change, transformation and new life. In my own mind I came to the conclusion that freedom represents free from any and all pain, death brings about change, transformation and a new life.   The scriptures assure us that being absent from the body (death) is to be present with the Lord (new life-2 Corinthians 5:8). In fact when we die our earthly body withers and  we take on a new body, our heavenly body, “For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” 1Corinthians 15:53. 

I must be honest, when I first began to realize the actuality of  hospice care, I was very troubled. To the point that I could not think about it, I literally had to put it out of my mind as to what is actually happening, but as the days went on I began to accept that death for the follower of Jesus is not a terrible thing, because just like the caterpillar, it is transforming from one life into another. One being good and the other eternally exceptional where there is no pain, no sorrow and no more tears. Heaven is a place of eternal joy and peace.  (If heaven interests you I encourage you to read two books: Waking Up in Heaven and Heaven Is For Real two true life experiences, one from a young mother and the other a young boy).

One very important thing I have learned later in life, and that is while we are in our mortal body’s we can live a life of joy here as well, and it comes through Love and only Love. When I say “Love” I do not mean words or a feeling, I mean Love in an active sense. Most of us spend our earthly lives looking for things and even people to gratify us, but Jesus says there is a better way, and it comes by loving our neighbor. When I say neighbor think of the true story that Jesus talks about regarding the Good Samaritan. Seeing someone in need and taking what we have been blessed with to help another. Jesus instruction: “Go and do the same…” (Luke 10:25-37). Or how about the words of Jesus in the book of Mathew 25:31-46? He says that one day we will all stand before him (every nation, everyone) and he will divide his followers/disciples from those who chose not to love others, just like a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats (as Jesus describes). The only way Jesus will be able to tell whose are truly his are those who loved their neighbor. The following is what Jesus says will take place on that day:

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Jesus says that when we live our lives here on earth with others in mind and showing mercy on the stranger, the widow and the fatherless, when we share our coats and meals with those that have none, we will know what real joy is.  In fact he said that when we love one another, we will have “his Joy” and that “our Joy” will be “full!” John 15.

If we want to get a glimpse of what  it’s like to experience the joy that comes from heaven,  all we have to do is Love. (1John 3:18)