I’m not sure why this blog has turned into a place where I dump my heavy thoughts. I intended it to be a place of encouragement and hope…a bit of a shelter in the midst of life’s storms. I can be funny and witty and smart but you probably don’t feel like you’ve seen that side of me yet. I will get there someday but, unfortunately, today is not that day. Today, I share the heavy reminder I’ve been given that life is too often too short.
My dad turned 70 last week. It was sort of surreal, to be honest, and not just for me but for him as well! As he opened his gifts, he would pause and mumble something like, “Seventy…WOW! I can’t believe it!” I thought his birthday would make me do the whole “my parents are aging” thing but it actually didn’t so much. I was reminded through the words of a sweet friend who lost her father several years ago how lucky I am to still have mine around. It was a moment of clarity, really, rather than sadness. So, while my dad’s seventy years have indeed flown by, that’s not what made me remember just how vapor-like life is.
That reminder came today. A friend of mine who I knew from church camp in high school died. She was 37-years-old and left behind a four-year-old son and a husband who, in one breath, is now a single parent. She was incorrectly medicated after having her gall bladder removed and had a stroke. Things never improved and she was taken off life support today. To be honest, I can’t wrap my mind around what happened. She probably thought she was going in for a fairly routine procedure and within days, she was living the final moments of her life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sad for HER. She was a strong Christian who had accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and today, she met Him face-to-face. I am confident she heard Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I am confident that right now, she’s catching up with her loved ones who were there waiting for her. I am confident she has already stood on the streets of gold and cried, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” For those reasons, I do not mourn for her. I mourn for a four-year-old who cannot possibly understand why Mommy was here one minute and gone the next. I mourn for a husband who cannot possibly find the words to comfort their son when he himself cannot make sense of this. I mourn for those of us who so quickly forget that we do NOT have all the time in the world.
I am amazed, though, that the heaviness of grief does not outweigh the peace that can be found in mourning. Only God can do that. Only God can bring calm in the midst of such emotional chaos. And because He is compassionate, He has done just that. He has opened my eyes to His peace that passes all understanding.
There is peace in knowing that her son has the opportunity to see her again someday. There is peace in knowing that her life was a joy to so many. And there is peace in knowing that the abrupt nature of her death will certainly be a reminder to people that life can be here today and gone tomorrow. What will you do with that reminder? I know I’m going to work to find joy in each day…even if I don’t always blog about it!