It is the best of
times and worst of times
that reveal the most of who we are.
Tuesday was my birthday; on Wednesday two friends died.
It’s an odd thing, reconciling the emotions attached to celebration of life and celebration of end of life….
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I experienced this same “circle of life” emotional gamut two weeks ago, when my first-born niece surprise-celebrated her 18th birthday six hours after I attended the funeral of my childhood best friend’s father.
That day, I became more closely acquainted with two people I already knew as I saw them through eyes more familiar than my own. In
one instance family lore unraveled in well-worn stories threaded with “secrets” and affection; the other was informed by the dance of friendship, kindred souls sent a’ twirl in song and laughter and tight squeezes—the kind that steal breath but add years to life and life to years.
Words from a funeral eulogizer lingered after the service, “Love doesn’t die, people do…when everything else is gone, you still have that to give.”
We’re all living Dickensian fairytales, aren’t we? Life stories penned in exhilarating triumphs and tear-stained tragedies, exquisite beauty and crippling brokenness, buoyant expectations and rattling disappointments….
Don’t the shadows reveal the sunshine?
Outside the Christian faith, I wonder what people cling to; I have this vision of a body in never-ending free-fall, limbs flailing through space, clawing for something but nothing is within reach. It’s so sad but I understand why some resist the call of God: it doesn’t always make sense. For some reason, though, my inability to make sense of this life of faith is what draws me the most.
The mysteries of God and his refusal to be tamed and managed and explained persuade me he’s above all.
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One of the deaths book-ending my birthday was a friend whose life collided with mine for a season; Teresa is the mother of Cara, one of my daughter’s friends.
Cara spoke at her mother’s service, and at 17 she accomplished what I attempted when speaking at my father’s funeral: to introduce him to those who didn’t know him (to those who were there not to mourn the deceased but to support the bereaved). She was joy-filled, amazingly composed and honored her mom beautifully.
I’m convinced she was able to do so because of something she shared with my daughter the evening prior: there was nothing left unsaid between her and her mom.
Cara and her mom were current. Though Teresa’s death was unexpected, Cara had no unfinished business, no regrets, no words left unspoken. The loss of her mother leaves Cara (and her family) with void, but the love demonstrated prior to her death is intact. It lingers nearby, within and without. It consoles the tears not yet shed.
Love didn’t die, a person did.
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Nothing left unsaid…am I “current” in all the significant relationships in my life? Are you? Isn’t that something you desire? I do.
Maybe it isn’t by chance you’re reading this right now; goodness knows I’ve been inconsistent in posting the past several months! But maybe you’re reading it for a reason…heck, maybe I’m writing it for a reason. I dunno, but it kinda feels that way….
If your life or that of someone you care about ended unexpectedly today, is there anything, anything, you’d wish you had said or done?
I think you should probably take care of that now.
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