Life and all its Implications

7:51 PM

Life is full of beginnings and endings. Unexpectedly we arrive and unexpectedly we leave. Things grow, they live and they die.  These are things we know and see around us every day; yet somehow, we expect things to still happen in an order of relative predictability. 

We figure when people get old, to a certain age, that death is more imminent.  What we don't really account for in our minds is that death is imminent for all of us. At any moment. This is a reality that we are somehow prevented from truly grasping because we all feel a little invincible. 

Today, I was reminded how mortal we really are.  While at church this morning, I received two rather alarming texts from neighbors asking me if I knew why there were police cars and ambulances in front of my neighbor's house, the neighbor whose house is closest to ours.  I had no idea but was immediately concerned. My first thought was a burglary or something of that nature. Then, one of my neighbors said there was a coroner out front. Kyle and I immediately pulled our kids out of their classes and drove home.

Since moving into our house in 2006 a week before I gave birth to Brooklyn, we have been so privileged to have the sweetest gentleman as our neighbor and friend. We quickly figured out he was gay, but that certainly in no way diminished our affection for him or our desire to get to know him and befriend him. He has been part of our lives these last 5 plus years.  Without a doubt the most genuinely selfless, caring person, a gentle soul - he fed our animals when we were out of town, tasted my baking experiments, discussed interior decorating with me, lamented with us about taking care of old houses...neighborly stuff.

My greatest fear as we headed home was that something had happened to him. The alternative was that something had happened to his partner which was equally undesirable.  Turns out, my greatest fear was realized.  Sometime this morning, our sweet neighbor, only 44, apparently had a heart attack and died.  I could not have been more shocked.  I just waved at him yesterday as he pulled out of his driveway. 

I am left feeling a little shell shocked.  Heart-broken that a vibrant life is suddenly no more.  Realizing how every conversation we have with someone may be the last.  And to what effect? What meaning did our interactions have? Did we touch them with anything other than surface friendliness? I certainly hope so.  

I realize in our world it is so easy to just skim the surface with everyone, never dipping deeper to see what hidden depths, hurts, hopes, fears, dreams, etc. exist.  We certainly don't talk about our beliefs or challenge others about theirs. Because it's hard! Especially when we really do care about them and don't want to risk jeopardizing the relationship with conflict or awkwardness.  But at some point, if you truly care about others, that's where you have to go.  And it may take time to get to that place.  But get there you should.  Lovingly.

Because life is so unpredictable and you just don't know when death is coming, shouldn't you be willing to put yourself out there a little more and make sure that those you care about, those you love, hear the Truth.  Because there IS a truth. THE Truth.  Many take credit for being the answer to life's being worth following, worthy of our devotion, our allegiance.  But only One is really. Because only One can be. 

Who? Buddha? Mohammed? No. The one who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.  To take our mess and make sense of it.  One who saw our need, our mistakes and did something about it.  Gave His life for us so that we didn't have to fear death.  So that we could know where our eternity would be spent.  To know that our existence isn't random or coincidental. That creation was purposeful and planned and lovingly crafted.  That there is a Hope.  In Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  No who-do or hocus-pocus. There is a plan for our lives. We matter.  You matter. Your neighbor matters. You were created by God for a purpose.  You are messed up and flawed and a sinner and as a result, you are no longer compatible with a relationship with God who is Holy and Perfect and can't be in fellowship with anything other than that. On top of which, there are consequences of sin: death.  Eternal death.  Except that because God loved us so much, He sent his only son, Jesus, who lived life on this earth as a man and didn't sin once. Not one time.  He had plenty of opportunities and temptations, just like we do, but He didn't sin.  So His life, the one perfect life, was given up for us. His blood covered and made available forgiveness for all our sins. He was sacrificed so that everyone who had sinned and DID deserve to die to pay for their sins wouldn't have to. His life stood in the gap.  He was the once and for all mediator between Perfect God and sinful us. 

And things get really complicated when you listen to people who claim to be Christians and who make it look as unappetizing as possible.  They are judgmental and seem to do nothing but spout rules and lists of don'ts.  And that is incredibly frustrating because that's not at ALL what it means to be a follower of Christ.  

It's freedom, fulfillment, a journey into something you never imagined. 

What I'm getting at is this:

There are things we all need to examine in our life.  Questions we should ask now, instead of waiting.  Because you may not have later to ask them.  Later is a foolish promise we cling to blindly when our later may be no further away than this second.  

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  1. I am so sorry about your neighbor. One of my friends unexpectedly lost her mom last week and it really made me realize don't wait to say or do the things you want. All you have is today.