As a youth pastor, this time of year is usually taxing on my schedule with all of the end of the year events, graduations and parties. I end up running from one thing to the next.
This week my norm was compounded by grief. It started when I found out a man I've known locally for over 8 years had a sudden heart attack and died. He was a year older than my husband so the reality of that situation was difficult to comprehend. I can't imagine losing Kevin right now. I know one day I may have to say goodbye, but I look at that day as something 20 plus years from now. I can only imagine that is what this man's wife is feeling when her plans were thrown out and a new life looks her in the face. A life she never planned and would probably give anything to relinquish for what she had.
A few short days later I learned a high school friend had to say goodbye unexpectedly to her 10-year-old son who died after a brain aneurysm. Life was normal one minute and not the next. My heart has been heavy for her and just can't imagine what her family is going through right now. I've know a few other people who have lost a child and it is something I think no one should ever experience.
The next day I walked out to my front yard to the sounds of sirens arriving just a few doors down from me. Moments later rescue responders were bend down doing chest compressions on a person in the driveway. I don't know what happened or even what came of it, but as I watched, I felt done.
Life is short.
We have no guarantee for tomorrow.
But when I felt my lowest in the wake of what others around me were experiencing, I found encouragement.
Yes, life is hard but it is also amazing!
I got to see people do some great things, things we all should do!
1. I saw people laugh. It made me laugh and find joy in life in the midst of whatever we face.
2. I saw people rally. The silver lining of tragedy is that you get see how people respond. I was touched today in working on a project for someone else, to see so many rally to help out and show love. Yes, we may life in an online society but ladies and gentlemen, community is NOT dead! Community is that successful free fall in a trust exercise. Its beautiful.
3. I saw people celebrate. Last week I talked about being two people at the same time. The mix of the best of me and worst of me happening simultaneously. Well the same can be said for the feelings we walk through. I can mourn and celebrate at the same time. Monday, I got to attend the funeral of the man I mentioned previously. Everyone was sad because he was gone and yet we celebrated the man he was, the legacy he left and the God with which he now lives.
Tonight, I got to cheer on 6 students graduating from 8th grade as they change schools and move on to high school. To see the light in their face and the joy in their words as they reflected on the years that led them here, was beyond exciting.
4. I saw people enjoy today. Eating ice cream with my kids or jumping into a pool on a hot day are the things that help me stay present in what I have - the moments before me. Those are the things that matter. There is nothing wrong in making plans but we have no idea if those plans will come to fruition. We have to hug more, cuddle more, love more, compliment more and say what we feel. Its okay to be awkward when its letting someone know we care or we recognize their value.
Life can beat us down. We need to revel in the beauty and cherish the things that are worth savoring.
to laugh with those around you!
to laugh with those around you!
Rally around people in your life and causes that you care about.
Celebrate the accomplishments and achievements in yourself and those around you.
And ENJOY TODAY!
Now set down your phone and go be present in the life before you!!!