Death is a difficult thing to cope with for those of us still living. I don’t think it is something that we will ever get used to nor should we. Death is something that we all must face, whether it is our own or of those we love so dearly (Hebrews 9:27). Oh, it is a wonderful thing for those who have died in the Lord (Revelation 14:13). Their labors are over and the pain and suffering are over. They can rest. For those of us who are still living, still breathing, and still reading something is missing from our life. It feels like my life has a few holes in it. I feel like a piece of Swiss cheese.
Have you ever googled why Swiss cheese has holes? According to huffingtonpost.com the holes are caused by “That bacteria, more specifically P. shermani, releases carbon dioxide when it consumes the lactic acid and forms bubbles. The bubbles don’t just disappear, they form little air pockets, resulting in the holes of the Swiss cheese”. Our loved ones are like those bubbles in our lives. They play a part in making us who we are and who we have become. When their bubble bursts, when they die, we are left with holes.
Holes from the lack of their physical presence; that empty chair, that empty coffee mug, those clothes just hanging in the closet, that hoyer lift that does no lifting. Holes in our phone conversations. We no longer need to ask about our loved one, we no longer get to ask for advice about baking, we no longer get to hear their laugh. Then there is the holes in our prayer life. For 15 years I prayed for my dad’s health. For 15 years he was a part of my prayers to my heavenly Father. Yes, I am so thankful I had those 15 years and for those many answered prayers, but there is still this hole.
Most holes get patched (holes in clothes or roads), but holes in Swiss cheese do not. Those holes are a reminder of those bubbles that were once there. Those holes are what makes Swiss cheese Swiss cheese. These holes are now a part of who we are and I don’t think we should patch them. Our loved ones should be remembered, should still be thought about, should still be loved, and we should still learn from them.
Some days the holes feel bigger than others. Some days the holes feel more like baby swiss. No matter how big or little the holes may feel, we need to be thankful for those holes; thankful for the love we have known, thankful for the time we have had, thankful for the power of prayer, thankful for the comfort and strength to live a life with holes. Today I am thankful for holes!
by Kristina Odom
Kristina and her husband, Justin, serve with the church of Christ in Fairfield, IL where her husband is the preacher. Kristina is a stay-at-home mother to their three teenage kids and the author of Be A Light.