(Post by: Madie Hobbs)
You know how people often say, “Well, it certainly has been one of those days”? They usually accompany the statement with a slump of the shoulders or an irritated sigh. Well, for me, it seems to be one of those months.
If you read last week’s blog post, you will have heard about some of the incredible, exciting things going on in The Few and in our personal lives. We just went on an outreach, celebrated four years of Bible study with our best friends, our podcast is only a few listens away from hitting 7,000 downloads, etc. etc. However, over the course of my life, I have come to accept the sad reality that joy and excitement are often mingled with pain and sorrow.
Early on Saturday morning, the day we were getting ready to celebrate an incredibly huge milestone with our friends, we were made aware of the news that a twenty-one-year-old woman from our church had been tragically, and very abruptly, killed. When Lilly told me the news my brain quite literally couldn’t absorb the information.
This was a girl who I have known practically forever, who was in the prime of her life having just graduated from college, gotten engaged, and was entering one of the most exciting new chapters of her life, and she was suddenly gone. I had never been particularly close with her, but both our families have watched each other grow up, have been in many of the same camps and Sunday schools together. To realize life could change that quickly for anyone on this earth, hit me like a ton of bricks.
I spent the entire day repeating the exact same phrase over and over again, saying, “I just can’t even fathom it.” Our whole group couldn’t get the subject off our minds. As we sat around a campfire later that night, we began to ask ourselves what life would look like for The Few if one of us would be taken just that quickly. The accident had put my whole life into perspective, as I thought about what it would be like for her sisters, her fiancé, her parents.
The emotion I’d been trying to hold back all day finally broke lose as we talked, and I sat in front of that campfire weeping. All I could ask was, “Can you even imagine?”
I write this post having just come back from one of the most heartbreaking, sorrowful funerals I have ever had to sit through, and only one quote comes to my mind as I try to grapple with the grief that has struck so quickly.
“Grief everywhere, everywhere terror, and all shapes of death.”
~ The Aeneid
I say it has been ‘one of those months’ because it seems like one thing after another has brought more and more sorrow to my personal life, but also to the lives of those around me, and our entire world.
The quote above may sound a bit grim, or downcast, or harsh, but I think all of us can say that we have experienced this same feeling that Aenias conveys when speaking of the fall of Troy.
Our world is a place of utter darkness, and sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in it. Like we’ll never be able to see the light again.
But let me encourage you, dear heart, it wasn’t supposed to be this way, and it won’t be like this forever.
We often use these times to normalize asking God why He can’t always save us from things like death and sickness. But let me tell you, He doesn’t desire that it should be this way. Unfortunately, death and grief are consequences of sin, and day by day we will have to find the strength to bear it.
But do not despair. Our Redemption is near.
“The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever. Holy and awesome is His name!” (Psalm 111:7-9 ESV)
Something I’ve always really disliked about times like these, where everyone is shocked into the realization that life is short, is the fact that this thought wears off so quickly. In one week, the number of cards that family is receiving will be minimized. In one month, people will stop texting, asking what they need, and letting them know they’re being thought of. In one year, those people will just be a few more simple faces blending into the crowd, and everyone will have forgotten the trauma and tragedy they have gone through.
A week from now people will not be asking themselves what they would wish they’d have done differently if their daughter, sister, fiancée had been taken away that quickly. If they had been in her place. So, I’m here to ask you that question again. If you knew exactly how much time you had left on earth, what would you do differently?
Would you wish you’d not have sent that insensitive text to one of your kids when you got angry? Would you have read Scripture more? Would you tell your family you loved them a little bit more adamantly and regularly than usual?
Let me tell you, on Saturday night as I sat weeping in front of that campfire, asking myself that very question, I thought of quite a few things I would change.
I would get closer to Jesus. I would write obsessively. I would change my attitude towards siblings. I would hug my friends a little tighter before they left my house. I wouldn’t waste time on things that have no soul.
My life would look radically different. How about yours?
My prayer is that we live our lives so well we can truly look ourselves in the mirror and admit with confidence that we are so much different than every other bundle of bones on this planet.
The one thing that is certain in this world is that none of us are making it out of here alive. So, wouldn’t you rather leave with a bang? On fire with passion for eternal things, and with no regrets left behind.
Vivanus, moriendum est.
Let us live, since we must die.
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= What are you going to do differently?