Dana Martin Writing

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Dana Martin Writing

“E” is for Eternity

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
Two days ago, I was visiting with a friend who said, “So, do you know what your “E” topic will be?” At that time, I hadn’t yet written “D,” so if you’ve gotten familiar with me through my writing, then you know I rarely think ahead, much less plan my blog topics ahead. 
Scarlett O’Hara and I don’t like to think about anything today. We like to wait until tomorrow.
Later that same night, I was in the middle of my spin class when it hit me: “E” for me must stand for Exercise! And that was the plan. Look at me, barely out of the gate with “C” and I already had “E” planned. I spun a little faster, wiped the sweat from my eyes, and enjoyed a moment of smug satisfaction. Yes, I was grateful to exercise for keeping my body healthy.
But this is why Scarlett and I procrastinate–nothing good ever comes when I plan ahead, and all it took to change my mind this time was my road trip to a funeral on Thursday. 
The casket was open, so my little family and I sat in the back, but the pain emanating from the front rows was like an earthquake sending emotional shock waves underneath the carpet. My kids had lost their grandfather, my husband–his father, and to the rest of the family, their leader. The grief in the room was like a heavy, uncomfortable quilt–comforting because you were sharing it, but hot and suffocating. You wanted to kick it off, but you knew if you did you’d get cold. And nobody wants to be cold when they are grieving.
I’d had my own losses lately, so my spiritual muscle felt strong. I exercised it a lot during my own grief, pumped so much supernatural iron that I was prepared to lift my family during this life changing event. I had all the King’s horses and all the King’s men, and I was ready to put their sad pieces back together again.
As I sat and listened to each person get up and speak and felt their excruciating grief, just one word came to mind: Eternity. In that moment, I knew my “E” had changed.
My theme this month is gratitude, so when I first imagined the topics on which I could write using each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, I knew if I wasn’t careful I’d spend much of my blogs in one direction: “F” for Faith, “G” for Grace, “H” for Heaven, “J” for Jesus. I didn’t want to do that. I want to recognize my faith, but I’d also like to focus on some of the blessings He has given me.
But then, as I sat and faced Papa’s end of life, I remembered that even though we consider our earthly life everything, it was only the end of the smallest, most insignificant chapter of his existence. Because of his faith, the life awaiting Papa has no end — just a beginning. When he took his last breath here on earth, his next breath was Heavenly air.
Eternity: That for which we do not deserve but is made available to us as a gift. Believers don’t face the end with fear, and survivors needn’t worry about what awaits them. Eternity is a party where the guests are eagerly waiting behind couches, in closets, and hiding among the clouds waiting to flip on the light switch and scream “hooray!” just as the light switch here on earth goes off.
I like to think that our loved ones are guests of honor at a huge celebration. You made it! You’re here! Finally! We’re so happy to see you!
Eternity: Heaven’s assurance that we will see our loved ones again and not for just a set number of years. On earth, we are conditioned to know that people don’t live forever, but it hurts. It stings to say goodbye. We expect it, but it’s never easy. We walk around with a loved-one shaped hole in our hearts.
But in Heaven, I’m not sure the word goodbye exists. In Heaven, there is eternity–and that is a word that has no end.


  • Kathy Wiechman

    Beautiful post! I am sorry for your loss. Both my parents breathe "heavenly air" (a lovely phrase, btw). They went far too soon, but they left behind a wonderful legacy of love. It sounds as though your father-in-law did, too.

  • Jonathan

    I'm sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family. May the gentle breeze of your faith blow comfort to your hearts today and every new day to follow.

  • Annis Cassells

    Thinking of your family at this time, Dana. Thanks for allowing us to be part of your story by sharing it with us. May your fond memories of "Papa" swell in your hearts and minds, replacing your grief with smiles. xoA

  • Dana Martin

    Thank you everyone. All is well. No tears, only joy that we will all see our loved ones again.

  • Robin

    That is precisely how I feel about death. While we are crying down here, there is this huge party going on in Heaven. We are all saying things like, "I can't believe he's gone." Meanwhile, everyone who has gone before in Heaven are saying, "We can't believe you're finally Home. Welcome." The irony is that this place is not the Great Place, yet we are so sad to see the person go. We often say, "It wasn't enough time. I didn't get enough time." The truth is that there is all the time in the world. And we will get it in The Best Place.

    Perspective. We just need to reframe the picture so that we see things for what they are.

  • J.L. Campbell

    Interesting post and lots of food for thought. It's wonderful to think that I'll see my loved ones again one day.

  • Carol Z

    Lovely post. Glad to find your blog.

  • Dennis

    Enjoying the breadth and depth of your gratitude.

  • Jer

    Oops, fouled up my comment and can't edit.

    Anyway, I'm so enjoying your A to Z posts, and this is the best one yet. Your writing is so fluid and natural and you have a habit of sprinkling your writing these little gems of sentences that blow me away. You're a great writer.

  • mare ball

    SO encouraging to know that this life is temporary. There WILL be a party in heaven! Some day I wish is was sooner, than later. 🙂
    from The Dugout

  • David Macaulay

    very moving post. Nice to stumble on your blog randomly from the challenge – as one does.



  • Kym Showers

    I celebrate the sweet reality of HeAveN with you….our hOpE when we lose someone DeAr. SO GrAteFuL. Another BEUTiFuL post. Love Love reading your blog every day….a TrEaT! You're ReALLy ReaLLy GOOD:) xxxxxxxoooooooo

  • Frances Stiles

    Beautiful piece, Dana. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Craig Edwards

    A lovely post. I'm sorry for your family's loss.

  • Joan Raymond

    Very special post. "Loved-one shaped hole in our hearts" I really love that sentence. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  • Kimberly Gabriel

    You are right – this was very, very good. Absolutely lovely. I'm sorry for your loss and very glad to have read this post this weekend. I love your writing style Dana.

  • Dana Martin

    Sweet Joan… I know that you have such a shape in your heart, but a glorious day awaits you when you will see him again. 🙂 And Kimberly, thank you for coming to "E." It was way better than "F." Haha

    To the rest of everyone: Thank you for enjoying what I write and for the sweet condolences. We will see him again. 🙂


  • Jenn Flynn-Shon

    "I like to think that our loved ones are guests of honor at a huge celebration. You made it! You're here! Finally! We're so happy to see you!"

    This is beautiful and so comforting to hold close in such a difficult time. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

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Dana Martin Writing

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