This morning I learned that a friend, who I met through a support network for moms, lost a dear friend of hers last night. She babysits the little daughter of this precious woman.
The woman and her elementary aged son were both killed after being struck by a Semi on the freeway.
Just minutes before, they were driving down 1-65, near Franklin, TN, during inclement weather. Suddenly, they witnessed a car flip in front of them. So, like any decent, selfless soul would do, this beautiful mom stopped to try to see what she could do to assist the driver of the flipped car. She pulled over to the shoulder and her and her son got out of their car to walk toward the injured driver. It was in that moment that they were struck by the Semi.
I can’t make sense of it. I see it all the time. I’ve had it happen to me. One day, back in 1987, I was hugging my brother and laughing with him, and the next day he died in a tragic house fire (started by a broken human-being who did it on purpose).
I’ve had friends, family, and colleagues lose precious loved ones to horrible illnesses or sudden tragedies who were absolutely fine 6 months before or a day before. I’ve lost loved ones and friends. We all have. Our friends and families die. We die. It happens. It happens to all of us…. So, WHY are we so caught off guard and what can we learn from the fragility of life and the reality of death?
I think it comes down to a couple things… or a couple million. But, to keep this blog from making all of us feel suicidal by dwelling on the sadness for too long… I’ll just keep it to a couple.
Number ONE… We may not mean to, but we take life and time for granted. It’s human. We’re human. How could we ever prepare to lose someone anyway? Right? So, we just assume that tomorrow and the next day and the next will come, and everyone who is with us today will be there in those days too. And while it natural, there’s likely a better way to approach every day we’re given than what we are doing right now. We can’t live in fear of loss, but we CAN live in abundance of life.
The truth is… we just don’t know what will happen next. Life is so fragile… We should never take a breath for granted. Not our own breath… Not the breath of our loved ones… Not the breath of our friends and coworkers. We need to appreciate every day and every person in that day.
LOVING people is a pinnacle aspect of being fully alive. Invest in people. Judge not lest you be judged. Cast no stones you aren’t willing to be hit with yourself. Stop wasting time fighting fights that just end up knocking you and everyone around you out.
Stop “majoring in the minors.” Use your brain and your heart and eyes. Stop viewing life through a tiny lens, whether that be an under-educated viewpoint or opinion, or, the screen on a smart phone. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Live in simplicity. Make choices and sacrifices that will matter once your daily breath is no more. Function from an attitude of gratitude. Appreciate every day as a true gift, limited by time, limited in breaths, but unlimited in love and grace.
Number Two… Denial is easier than action. Of course it is, right…? But, should things suddenly and drastically change, taking someone we love from our presence, what will we find most important then? Whatever that is, how can we start living that way now?
Here are a few suggestions: Hug those you love twice as often as you do right now. Do that as often as possible. If you don’t see them very often (because of distance, etc.), hug them in other ways; a note, a call, a thumbs up emoticon, whatever…just do it. For those who don’t hug, just try it once over the next day or so. For those who hug once a day, that means twice a day, and so on.
Say “I love you” every day. Show “I love you” every day. Smile at twice as many strangers as you smile at now. For those who don’t smile at strangers, try it just once every day. For those who smile at people everyday, don’t do it anymore than that…People will think you’re weird. 🙂 Don’t measure your blessings by the “blessings” you see others receive. Celebrate theirs and share yours. And…remember the little boys and girls and families who are living in 7’x 7′ huts, with no running water, all around the world. Consider yourself richer than you could ever deserve. Do something today that will last 10 years from now. Sponsor a child. Find one here- compassion.com.
You get my point, right? If you love Jesus (and I pray you do), show people Jesus. Study what He would do if He were walking through the mall and try doing it. Study what HE might do if HE saw someone homeless and do that. Study how HE would love a sinner and try to love like that. Study how HE would love someone with a different opinion than HE had, and LOVE others like that. Study how HE loves YOU and let yourself be loved like that.
Love GOD, love yourself, love others… TODAY. Because so far, this is a day we have all been blessed with to do so… Live by this beautiful verse of scripture “THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE. WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.” ~ Psalm 118:24
Finally….Breathe in…. Breathe out… Stop right now and thank God for that breath. And, right now, pray for that PRECIOUS and DEARLY loved mom and son’s family; a husband, a little daughter, many others, friends, like my friend whose name is Lisa. Pray for her. Pray for Lisa. Pray for everyone who thought they’d have tomorrow with them… Let’s pray for them and live our own lives like we aren’t promised tomorrow either, because we aren’t. We have a gift right now, though. That gift is TODAY.
I LOVE YOU all and every single one of your fragile lives…