Live. Now.

Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)

More sad news has come this week. Last week we learned of the very sudden, unexpected death of a friend of ours, and have spent the week since praying for and grieving with his family. Today we will join his family as they bury him. Then this week we got a similar call from our very good friends who learned that their cousin had some extremely serious complications during child birth and was in really bad shape. In fact, they were already declaring her “brain dead” and didn’t seem to have much hope to ever revive her.

The next night, we learned that she had in fact passed away.

This was a mom in her early thirties, with a 6-year-old girl, and a newborn baby girl. That’s not supposed to happen. We live in America. We live in the 21st century. We can handle things like a c-section birth, right?

Sadly, we are too often reminded that we are not in control of life.

So today her family is grieving. Her boyfriend, the father of the newborn, is torn apart inside, I’m sure. The joy of your first child is unbelievable, but to lose the woman you love (I am told they had plans to be married after the baby was born) at the same time… excruciating. And her parents. They are now mourning the loss of their daughter, instead of enjoying holding a new granddaughter. (I just can’t imagine…) And there are siblings, cousins (our friends), aunts, uncles, grandparents … all feeling the deep, sudden, tragic sting of this loss.

Later this week I spoke with a friend who traveled half-way around the world to be with her sister who is about to lose her boyfriend to a disease they just discovered he had, and her sister and their infant son are also facing potentially serious health issues. The same day I spoke with some friend who have been dealing with very difficult issues surrounding two teenage boys they brought into their family about four years ago. They’ve been their mom and dad for those years now, giving them a home, a place to be loved… but there’s a lot of rebellion in the boys’ hearts. The oldest of the two has left to be on his own, and the youngest is dealing with some pretty serious issues in life … our friends are tired and weary.

And I feel it all. I feel for all of these friends, some of whom are really more like family, who are dealing directly with hurt or closely surrounded by it. A few thoughts come to mind:

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. – Matt 5:4 (NIV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds – James 1:2

I’ve had enough thoughts on both of these short verses lately to fill many pages of writing. In fact, I don’t think I’ll deal with the line from James much right now, other than to say I’ve wondered if James was including sadness and/or loss as a “trial”? I’ve always thought so, but these last two weeks I’ve wondered if he didn’t mean to imply that kind of “trial”…

But mourning. There’s plenty of that going on. And any who’ve read that verse (and the surrounding ones) have wondered at the backward picture that Jesus paints of the way God sees life. We’re blessed if we mourn? If we’re meek? If we’re poor in spirit? If we’re persecuted?? Those don’t fit our definition of “blessed”, do they?

Jen told me that she had been thinking about those words, too, and had seen one way it was a blessing. In the midst of grieving and mourning, all of the unimportant is instantly gone, and the only thing that matters is the real. The true things of life. Generally, that’s only our relationships with those who are close to us, and being with them. Our memories of the one we’ve lost. It’s not (usually) any of the things that just recently before had dominated our daily and weekly schedules. Somehow events which cause us to mourn bring us closer to real life than we usually let ourselves be.

That is not to say that hurt or loss are in themselves good. They are not. (At least in my estimation.) But they are part of real life, much more so (usually) than many of our daily activities.

It’s hard to remain there—and no one would want to remain there, in such a painful place—but somehow I think we can. Time heals the wounds we have, even if there are deep scars remaining. Somehow if we could only capture the connection we have with what is important in these moments, perhaps we could really live.

That’s all I’ve been thinking. I mean, I’ve been thinking of many things, but they all seem to have a central theme. That is to live. And to live now. Be where you are. Remember to enjoy the important things and put off the distractions. Now, we all have things we have to do, but I’d say those should frequently be reevaluated, and measured by what we know in these times to have real value. Not that there can’t be “diversions” at times, but even the word itself implies what they are: diversions from reality.

After all of this sadness—perhaps more descriptively, on top of all this sadness—I am feeling very weary. I’ve heard that in my friends tones as well. (If not specifically in their words.) Yesterday I was really feeling it, and in a moment of clarity I was reminded of the oft-quoted words of Jesus:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matt. 11:28 (NIV)

The really cool part was that it seemed like Jesus himself was saying it to me. So I just took a moment to breathe, and remember that even in all of my caring for my friends I can’t do anything about it really … only he can. So I brought the heaviness to him, and asked him for rest. And then I asked the same for all whom I have been lifting up to him these past couple weeks.

He is life. He said so—”I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life“. Not his teachings or someone else’s interpretations of him. Not anything else. Jesus. He is the life. (John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life: To know the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent.”) It’s so simple, but so often missed or forgotten. He is our life source. When we are connected to him (John 15), we can know and live real life.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

The reminder at these times is to know what matters and find life in that. Jesus made all that is, and all was made for him (Colossians 1) … he is life. Then God made us in his image. There’s nothing more important than the people God has put into your life, and whose lives you’ve been put into. Don’t wait for the moment when they are gone (or you are gone) to live life to its full with them. We have been reminded all too clearly that we really have no guarantee of our next moment.

But we do have now. So please, live. Now.

One Comment

  1. Your prayers have been felt and blessed our family. It seems that Gods rest is sometimes the only place to find peace. I love that we have now, and I want to make every moment count. My heart is aching for all the loss around us, but our loss is Gods gain, our loved ones missed are enjoying there new now.

    Reply

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