Kara Tippetts is preparing for her death from cancer. She thinks back to having read Sheldon Vanauken’s A Severe Mercy, even before she met the man she would marry. The book is a memoir of the love of its author and his wife Davy, and it how it was transformed after the accepted Christ. She died early.

Absent a miracle, so will Kara, leaving Jason, her pastor husband, and their children behind. In her blog entry (linked above), she quotes a passage from the Vanauken book in which he chose to join Davy on the journey of life:

Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still the joy would be worth the pain- if, indeed, they went together. If there were a choice- and he suspected there was- a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths…..

Kara adds:

Me too Sheldon, me too….

What I thought was love 20 years ago has been beautifully reshaped in hard, grace, suffering- but the heights and the depths- yes. It has all been worth it.

Kara’s book about her cancer journey, The Hardest Peace, will be out in October; you can pre-order it on Amazon. I’ve read it, and it’s deeply moving. The long passage in which she writes about praying for the woman who may follow her, and love her husband, and care for her children — well, it tore me up. In a good way, but still. There’s real power in this luminous story. If you don’t follow Kara’s blog, please consider doing so.