Intellectually, we all know that people die, but before midlife we tend to think of death in terms of death happening to older people. Suddenly during midlife, some event or thought causes us to realize that death is going to happen to us.
I was away at graduate school working on my first doctorate when my wife called me late one night and told me that a close friend of mine had died of a massive heart attack. The news hit me like a sledgehammer. He was only in his mid-thirties. Two weeks earlier he and his family had stayed in our home. Sally and I had spent a month ministering with him and another close friend. In a few months I was to again be overseas with him, but but now he was gone! Everything had changed.
In retrospect, his death and my turning forty-five the day before seemed to be the two incidents that plunged me deeply into my midlife crisis.
I had helped many other people through the stress related to death. I knew what the Bible taught: "No man can live forever. All will die. Who can rescue his life from the power of the grave?" (Ps. 89:48). The Bible not only teaches that everyone is going to die, but also that our time of death is uncertain. "How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog--now you see it; soon it is gone" (James 4:14). But even though I knew all the information--the emotions associated with these losses for following several months was totally overwhelming for me. It was as if my friends death was "the straw that broke the camel's back."
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Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com
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