(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

This is, after all, Holy Week. This walk to Golgotha, sad as it is, gives me comfort in facing mortality. Yet still, I am not so ready for myself or anyone else to test out Jesus’ love for us. I continue to be pretty firmly grounded in my humanness, for better or for worse.

Family members, friends, beloved pets, loved ones of friends, celebrities—it seems mortality will not be ignored right now, no matter how many times I say I’ve had enough.

Death is not in my hands, it turns out. Yet, thank God, neither is eternal life solely in my hands.

I like to believe I’m ready, that if it were my turn, I could rest in Jesus’ arms and go toward that proverbial light we’ve all heard about from those who’ve returned from near-death experiences.

Last week as I was sleeping, I had a dream that told me I have more work to do with my faith. (Or is it not work per se, but the need to let go of control?)

I’ll make the disclaimer that it could have been a metaphoric dream that had nothing to do with real death. It could have been about death to old ways, especially since I am firmly set on a life transition as I learn how to be the matriarch of our family while at the same time my family responsibilities have reduced. Despite all the recent sadness, I am returning to a time when I can focus more on my own real life dreams.

But this dream tells me old habits die hard.

I am prone to strange dreams, but this one seemed pretty normal at first. I had walked into a room where Indian music was playing. As I stood there, I clearly heard the woman sing, “Glide on into infinity . . . ” and then my body felt a strong pull upward.

There was no white light and I knew I did not want to go. As dreams go, I was suddenly lying down. With all my might, from head to toe, I held my body down while shouting, “No!” The next thought was that neither Sherman nor Christiana could handle my loss so closely after the other losses. (Lest you think I didn’t care about Jackson’s loss, just know that he is more like me—he builds walls around his grief rather than falling into it.)

No, in the dream I didn’t think nice thoughts about how good it would be to be in the presence of the Eternal. And, I didn’t even think about all the things I still wanted to do here. Nope, I fell right back into care-giving mode.

However, as I lay there awake with my heart pounding, I did think about myself. While I’ve decided that dying in my sleep is preferable to going out in many of the horrible ways I’ve seen, all I could think was, “I didn’t mean yet!” Yes, I was scared I was going to miss out on my own time now that I had finally gotten it back. I discovered I was not at all ready to submit to Divine Will should it be my time to go.

Nonetheless, why would it be my time? Just to calm my nerves, I asked Sherman, “Did I sound funny at all in my sleep?”

He replied, “Well, you were making all these loud breathing noises and then suddenly you stopped. I thought you had died.” And then he rolled over and fell back to sleep.

You can guess who didn’t fall back to sleep right away. I mean, do I have apnea or a heart rhythm problem or just a lack of trust in the Big Man? Or all?

I’m trying to convince myself this is a story about my need to grow my faith. Or about how I should not float around without making concrete steps toward the next phase of life. Or how much I do want to live. Maybe, once again, the answer is all of the above.

Then into all this emotional turmoil, I hear of another death—of someone who was a mere 4 days older than I am—and he died unexpectedly the day of my dream. Of our onetime group of four friends during the early months of college, two have now died and one has experienced a brain tumor. As I grieve for them, I look in the mirror and wonder, “Why them?” “Why not me?”

Somehow I have to remember that this walk to Golgotha is about Jesus and how because of his walk, he walks with us on our own walks to the cross. We are not alone, whether we are left, hearts pounding in the dark, to ponder our own numbered days or whether we walk our own holy week, “gliding on into infinity”—and beyond.