Last evening began as any typical evening might in our house.
I arrived home, fretting about a jerky driver in front of me at a stoplight who'd been distracted (looked like he was texting), then proceeded to flip me off out the window when I beeped my horn at him. My hubby was in a state of anxious consternation about how to deal with a strange situation in which he's become the unwitting, unwilling liaison between two acquaintances who don't see eye to eye. And my son was in a snit because he'd gotten in trouble at school for horsing around in the hallway with a buddy.
We were all quite justifiably off-kilter as we huffed about the kitchen—or so we thought.
And then after dinner, I received an online notification.
A woman we know had died unexpectedly.
A woman I've spoken to, sung with at church, whose two children are close to the same age as my child.
A woman who was younger than I.
These past couple of months have brought a lot of bad news within my circle of friends and family, mostly news of sickness and death. Each time, though, I've been able to find comfort because those who had passed were older, and had lived good, full lives. Their existences hadn't been perfect or painless, but they'd been satisfying and successful overall. The passing of those people is still sad, but there is much to celebrate as well.
But this loss? A young wife and mom? Without warning, without any chance for loved ones to say goodbye?
This loss is a sobering reminder to me that I must stop giving energy and effort to the wrong things. Each day when I wake, I need to choose gratitude. Each time I start down the path of worry, anger, or self-pity, I must instead think of the opportunities I have been given, the gift of another day. The chance to make things better, to buoy others, to pray for them and extend kindness.
Not one of us knows the hour or day when life will be snuffed out. Our time will come, and our souls will leave this mortal coil and go... on. I must choose joy, and life, and the pursuit of good. I must choose to be thankful for every blessing, and to praise God in all circumstances. I want my life to matter. We're here for such a short time, even those of us who are granted many years of life; a centenarian is also a mere spark, truly.
In the interest of eternity, I urge anyone reading this to think about what will happen to us all, and to prepare. If you don't know Jesus, I hope you'll seek Him and let Him in. A great place to learn more is the book of John in the New Testament of the Bible. He is real, He is alive, and His presence in your heart will change you literally forever. The young woman I know who left us suddenly? She knew Him, and I am so thankful. I hope to sing with her again someday, because as you might know, there is a whole lot of praising going on in Heaven.
Whatever you choose in matters of faith, I hope you will choose not to waste time and life on trivialities; to do so is to squander our precious moments. While I'm sure I'll forget that lesson many times, I trust that God will remind me over and over again. Should I miss His reminders, I'll still be forced to revisit this realization every time someone I know passes on. And seriously? it shouldn't take a death to help me embrace life.