Earlier this week, after a long day at the office, I decided to get my nails done. As I was sitting in the familiar chair at the salon, a lady walked in the door. She was talking on her cell phone and seemed a bit ... disassembled.
When the nail technician asked how she could help the incoming customer, the woman asked if they could do a letter on each of her nails. Intrigued, I wondered exactly what message she was hoping to convey with her well thought-out nail art.
Several seconds of a language I did not understand ensued by the owners of the business. Finally, the technician asked the waiting woman what letters she desired.
The stranger in the public lobby thought about it for a second, perhaps gaining her composure, then responded: "Fly High Mom."
I thought to myself what an odd message. Is her mother going skydiving? Is it a code for some kind of private joke she shares with her children or a sibling? Is she rooting for someone special—a mother or mentor in her life, battling some kind of illness or undergoing a major life change? My mind was racing with possibilities. And then, just when I could barely stand it, she said these words that pierced my heart: "My mother passed away. Her funeral is tomorrow, and I want my nails to display the message I want her to know."
As you can imagine, my curious heart turned to an empathetic, broken heart for this young woman. I wanted to get up and give her a hug, but I didn't. Compassion for this grieving daughter replaced any negative feelings I had carried into the salon from my long day at the office, putting my grief into perspective.
Her message not only emulates the hope a daughter feels for her mother to fly high, like an angel, newly welcomed to heaven's paradise; but it also shows a faith, a deep-seeded belief, that her mother is now in a better place.
"And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise'" (Luke 23:43).
A place with no tears, no pain, no emotional trauma, no wondering, no anxiety, no confusion or discontent. Her mother has been released from a broken world, and it is this daughter's deep convicted belief that she is flying high rather than lying low, as is often the case when living disheartened upon this earth.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
I will never know how this woman's mother died. Was it a sudden, unexpected and heartbreaking surprise or a long-fought illness such as cancer or COVID? Perhaps it was an accident, the tragic outcome of an unfortunate circumstance? The possibilities are endless.
How deeply grateful am I, as a Christ follower, to own the hopeful assurance that I will one day reside in the arms of my Savior! Perhaps one of the most popular and highly memorized verses in the Bible gives us this very promise:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
As I reflect on this stranger, whose words I cannot seem to erase from my mind, I wish her much peace, a profound supernatural comfort that comes only from heaven above, and the blessed assurance from Jesus Himself that her precious mother is indeed flying high.
Manndi Maphies DeBoef works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy and as a freelance writer in her spare time. Her greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two rambunctious, creative, endearing sons, William, age 11, and Waylan, age 8. Her sons never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She also loves to write about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one and starting over. Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement and always a touch of humor.
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