This I Believe

Michele - LaSalle, Michigan
Entered on May 16, 2007

Fragile: Handle Carefully

“Put your hand in mine and let us help one another to see things better.”

Claude Monet

Life is fragile and I can prove it. In the past few weeks, two distinctively unique experiences invaded my “life is frail” consciousness. All this by way of a car crash and a relative’s terminal illness. In the space of a few hours, I witnessed two cars smash headlong into each other like two tin cans being crushed under a malevolent foot. My heart stopped. My stomach lurched. Amazingly, no one was badly injured. Thankfully, these families and all who love them were spared the sudden finality of death. Fast forward to a brief, but soulful conversation with my father-in-law about the day’s activities: getting dressed, getting down food and medicine, getting ready for radiation treatment, getting back home for hospice nurse visit, getting down more food and medicine. Getting tired, getting ready for bed and getting a good night’s sleep.

Seems his days are all about getting ready. But in reality, he’s already, ready. He is, he’s farther along in this journey of life than we are and he knows it. He’s accepted it and he wants us to accept it too. Since we’re all going to die, this isn’t a news-breaking revelation. And still, I wonder if any of us is prepared to lose someone we love?

For our family, we’ve been “given notice” so to speak. Someone we love dearly isn’t going to recover, is likely to suffer, and we can’t fix it. When we first received the news, we were still grieving over the loss of two other family members who’d recently passed away. This newest blow hurt us deeply. Stunned us. Blind-sided us. And set us scurrying to make sense of yet another personal loss of life. This news caused an ache so real we felt it physically.

Then time stepped in. And faith. We slowly wrapped our minds around the truth and our emotions started to catch up with the hard facts. It still ached and our tears spilled over at inopportune moments, embarrassing us and others who helplessly looked on.

Then we turned another corner. We accepted it. In tiny, halting baby steps, we slowly began to see this “advance notice” as a blessed gift to spend time together. To talk. Laugh. Pray. Eat. Reflect. Just be together enjoying the simplest of life’s pleasures means everything now. A good day to be alive.

Then we began to see, really “see.” What’s important. What’s not. What lasts. What won’t. And those things that fall into the “what won’t last” are what we spend the bulk of our days chasing. Money. Careers. Achievement. Possessions. More money. Just stuff, really. Insignificant. Fleeting. Distractions. Not worth a single cent in eternity. Not one. Only God and people are forever. That’s it. End of story.

Or not? Conversations are turning more and more to the life after this one. A sure and certain hope is a wonderful thing. And it’s real. Substantial. Peace-inviting, anxiety-nixing gift straight from the hand of God. Selah….peace. From the inside out, may you find it today.