A friend of mine died a few days ago.
We had attended the same church for years. She was a passionate person – odd, though – and didn’t really fit in the church scene.
Covered with tattoos, piercings, and colored hair, she stuck out. Her mouth was filter-free and each and every thought she had promptly found its way out of her mouth and hanging in the air, often awkwardly – and to the horror of many.
I loved her. But, more accurately, I was touched by her.
Her life was embroiled in controversy. She was confrontational, defiant, and rebellious. She had friends, she lost them, she argued with them and posted snarky retorts on Facebook about them in full view of the public.
Then she forgave and loved them fully, passionately, and sacrificially. She gave to the extreme with an enviable generosity. I adored her; was smitten by her.
Now she’s gone.
She’s moved to Eternity.
As I sit here mourning her, I wonder what she’s thinking now. All the roller coaster of emotions, the battles she fought, the wars she won and lost, the passion and the fear and the bitterness she so proudly displayed – if she had to do it all over again, would she?
As I contemplate my own end, I wonder – would I?
I guess that’s what life reflection is all about: inventorying your regrets.
I have to shake my head sometimes. I get so caught up in the here and now. The logistics of it all. The future that may or may not come. I’m so entangled with the calculations of this and of that, and I often forget.
This life is just a small slice.
I will exist beyond this.
And there are no second chances to do this over again.
Lord, help me. I so desire to focus on what matters. How often I do not!
How many times I have lain on my bed into the long, dark hours of the morning fretting and contemplating and planning and worrying. How many hours have I spent crying and complaining and calculating payback for a perceived wrong or offense!
What on earth is the matter with me? How can I change?
I’ve heard it said that the ancient Greeks never wrote obituaries. They simply asked one question of a person who had passed from this life: did she have passion? Did he live to the fullest?
Oh, Lord. How difficult it is to live with passion for the right things!
As I close, I think about Jesus’ parable of the seed. It goes like this:
A farmer spread seed in his garden. Some fell on the rocky path, where it was almost immediately gobbled up by birds. Some seed fell into shallow dirt. The plants sprouted quickly but were soon burned by the searing heat because their roots were shallow.
Others fell amongst the thorns and weeds, where the fruit was choked out.
The last seed – well, it was fruitful. Multiplied. Abundant. Sown deeply into rich, pure dirt, it burst forth with large plants that produced a plentiful crop.
How I long, yearn, pine after being the abundant seed. How often I am not, but Lord, You are not done with me yet.
And if you’re reading this, He’s not done with you, either.
Does it take a friend’s obituary to make us see what’s important?
Must we be diagnosed with cancer before we figure out what battles to fight…and which ones to let fall into the ether?
In some ways, I envy my friend. She is without sin now. Free from the traps and snares that haunt us all. She’s not worried about that strange way her neighbor looked at her, or the misunderstanding she had with her co-worker. She could care less.
Her sin nature was buried in the casket along with her.
I guess, sometimes, I just wish it wouldn’t take something so drastic for us to experience something similar.
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