My sons lost their father- I lost a friend. My sons learned the lessons of a fragile life at the ages of 18 and 21- much too young to lose their dad, much too young to fully comprehend the “why” behind God’s plan. I started reflecting recently on the fragility of life when a friend from my summer camp days passed away suddenly. This is also the time of year when loss weighs heavily for my sons and I because the anniversary looms. Losing a friend in the last week brought many questions to the surface and caused me to lean into God and what He wanted to teach me through this reflection.
As I headed to pay my respects to the family and friends of my former camp coworker, the sky burst open with flooding rains and in that moment I knew that God was present and was reassuring me that He too felt the sorrow of a life taken too young. But it didn’t stop at sorrow- a reminder poured forth that a life well-lived is not measured by the number of years someone lives on Earth but on how well the life is lived.
My sons’ dad modeled a life well-lived. He immersed himself in living with a servant’s heart- volunteering in all areas of his church. My friend also lived a life for others. As an educator his time was consumed with touching the lives of hundreds of kids on a daily basis. God calls us to live a life for Him. He knows that life is fragile because He created it. He wants us to thank Him everyday, worship Him in praise and thanksgiving and serve others like there’s no tomorrow.
Some of us will be given the gift of extended time to teach others and to follow God in all we do. Our story will have many chapters. My parents are an example of this life-long legacy. Their story has been blessed with multiple chapters because God has chosen this for them. I continue to learn from my parents everyday. God knows what He’s doing. Their story is not finished yet. Others exemplify a fragile life because their story is a shortened version with just a few chapters. God’s plan has been carefully scripted. He knew us before we were born and He has already planned the beginning, middle and end of our stories. God does not reveal the ending to our story. There have been many times that I have peeked at the end of a book I am reading to get a glimpse into how the story will turn out. With God there is no peeking allowed! Our fragile life needs to be a strong and courageous life for God no matter what ending is written. Each day that we are given allows us to add to our story and make a difference. Everyday should be spent honoring God in our words, actions and interactions with others. Life is fragile but with God it is healthy and meaningful. Each chapter is our opportunity to become more like God in all we do and to create a life that is better. We want our life to become the book that no one wants to stop reading because it is so in sync with God and all that He is calling us to do.
As the anniversary of a fragile life looms for you each year, let’s pray that we are not mourning over the passing of a life but rejoice in a life well-lived.
10 Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psalm 30:10-12) AMP