Sometimes, life is unpredictable.
Who am I kidding, often times, life is unpredictable. It catches us completely off guard and we are thrown into uncertainty and confusion; questioning life, questioning God.
We don't know how to navigate this course. We are often unable to think clearly and we cannot begin to comprehend what has taken place.
We wonder how we will ever get through what has happened; or what might happen. We try not to conjecture what will happen next, because we can't even comprehend what has just taken place.
Our minds often deceive us and thoughts that never might have occurred to us, are now occurring almost non-stop.
Our world has been turned upside down and we don't know how to keep going. Or if we even want to keep going.
This happens all across our world-not just in our own individual worlds. When natural disasters occur like earthquakes and tsunami's, we ache for those whose lives have been lost or those who have lost everything they had.
When atrocities happen globally and locally, we can be shaken into realizing that this is our world, our neighbors, who have been enslaved to others evil and we wonder what would happen if it happened to us or someone we love.
It is so easy to just be involved in our own little worlds, that we forget that abuse, abandonment, child slavery, sex slavery, addictions and war wreck havoc on our brothers and sisters around the globe. How do we live in our world and then also care about others as well?
But what happens when sickness and death affect us personally?
We are shaken to the core of our beings.
The fragility and tenderness of life captures our attention in ways that it never had before.
To hear that you have a life threatening illness, causes one to wonder and question what life is really all about.
Priorities are re-fashioned. It is not about the work we do, the acclaim we seek or crave; life becomes about what really matters: people. The People we love. The people we need to be reconciled to. The forgiveness we need to extend-and receive.
We care about our loved ones and the legacy we want to leave.
What happens when we lose someone we love?
Our world turns upside down. The world that we have known changes; it will never be quite the same again.
We experience overwhelming sadness and grief. We wish it was all a very bad dream. We don't know how to carry on, how to go on.
There is absolutely NOTHING that compares to losing someone we love. Our lives are changed forever. We have to endure a "new kind of normal", that doesn't include the one we lost.
Grief can crush us. Grief can overwhelm us. Grief changes us. And not in ways that we ever wanted to experience.
One minute we cry uncontrollably, the next we laugh at stories of our loved ones, then the tears return and we wonder how many days and months this lasts.
Life is a cycle and we tend to forget that. We are born, we live for however long God deems, and then we die. Why is that so hard to write for me? Because I tend to forget that life, that living is only temporary. That there is an "eternity" out there that awaits us. One that we don't understand. One that we often want to put way off.
Unfortunately, most of us don't get to choose how long we will live.
But we do get to choose HOW WE WILL LIVE.
Will we live for just our own interests? or will we choose to live to make others lives better? Will we be concerned for our own selfish wants or will we be selfless and give ourselves to others.
This past week, again I was reminded again of the brevity, the frailty of life. Three deaths in less than three months seems too much.
Robby, Nancy and now Mark.
Lives that didn't last as long as we would have wanted.
Lives that made so many of our lives so much better.
Lives that have left marks, that have taught us to love better, lives that are so deeply missed.
I don't get it. I don't understand death; except that it seems so final, so empty, so sad.
And yet, I know, that for Robby, for Nancy, for Mark, it has been the beginning of their eternity. The beginnings of their forever with Jesus. One that they would no doubt ever trade. But for those of us left behind, our lives change forever. We will miss them, we will long for them, we will be forever sad that they were taken from us too early.
I don't get it-because my mind just can't comprehend the enormity of death. I just know how it affects me; how it has changed me.
How I want to love more like Robby and Nancy and Mark. How I want to treat everyone with the respect and love they deserve and how way too often, I fail at that.
I want to be, at the end of my life, someone, who can be said that loved well, that cared for others deeply.
I know eternity awaits us all. We don't know when it will come.
Today I choose to be like Robby, like Nancy, like Mark. One that will love others and care about our world. To try to make someone's life better-even if its only one person. To give freely. To extend mercy and forgiveness. To be a Grace giving person.
I am grateful that my life intersected with these three amazing people. I am sad but choosing to keep going.
Life, for sure, isn't always easy.
Life allows us the opportunity to change as we have been changed by others.
Today I hope that I will choose to love well. To live and love as if today could be my last day. To give to others what they deserve and need. Just like Robby, Nancy and Mark did.
Thank you for your wonderful examples.
THANK YOU JESUS for gifting our lives with these friends who are now with you.