Life can be so confusing at times. We live in a world where there are so many options. We can live so many different places. We can do so many different things. There are so many good things that we can do, but we can’t do them all.
How do we choose?
How do we know what path to choose?
How do we know that we’re living out our life’s purpose?
I’ve discovered that when death intrudes in our lives, life suddenly becomes clear. The twisted mess of options, suddenly becomes untangled. When someone dies, even if they aren’t someone who is close to me, something within me feels a loss. Inside of me, I feel an ache. What is left is a longing to hear that person’s voice. To see their face once again. To touch them. To be in their presence.
Suddenly, life becomes clear.
People are valuable. Not because of what they do for us. Not because they’ve accomplished great things. But simply because they are human.
Recently, a friend of mine went to be with Jesus. I’m so happy for him, but I miss him and I hurt because he’s gone. Why? How do I miss someone that I realistically haven’t seen in a year. In fact, his sister told me how much he had grown since the last time I saw him. I was shocked. I never saw that new growth. That hurts.
Why do I miss Alexei?
My life will go on the same. I didn’t interact with him regularly. We didn’t chat on facebook or talk on the phone. Yet, it feels like something really beautiful in this life has been taken away much too soon. Well… I guess that because that quirky, smiley, joyful 14 year old boy added something to my life that I didn’t realize.
Isn’t that the way life goes sometimes? You don’t realize the blessings in your life until they are taken away.
Perhaps I’m not alone. Maybe you too have lost someone, and now you realize that that person made your life more beautiful. Perhaps now you recognize the reflection of God on display in that person-even if they didn’t know it themselves.
It’s so clear to me now that life is all about connecting with people. It’s taking the time to pause, to see the person in front of you, to acknowledge their value, their humanity, and God’s beautiful creation.
If you knew the cashier in the grocery store would be killed tonight in a car crash, would you interact with him or her a bit differently? I know that’s a hard question to process, but I think it’s one we should grapple with. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so judgmental of people, if I simply considered their humanity.
The fifty something people who were killed in the Orlando shootings were “those people” before the shootings. Now after their tragic deaths, we see them as brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons. We see them has people. Humans. People who didn’t deserve to die that way. They are people whom God sent His son to die for. They are valuable, and dearly loved by the Father.
I know you know this, for you hurt for those who have lost their loved ones. You hurt because someone you never knew is gone.
My prayer for you is that life gets really clear for you.
Every day we have an opportunity to connect with people. We can experience the often hidden blessings of God through every interaction. We can be the blessing of God to the people we encounter. It doesn’t mean we go out and try to save the world. Jesus has already done that! It means we live life less concerned about “my dreams” and “my goals” and “my success”. We live a life with a greater sense of humility. Knowing that we have been given the privilege of entering someone else’s world.
Being a part of someone’s life is a privilege, not a burden. (It can be a burden if we make it about us.)
We live with an awareness that tomorrow isn’t promised. I know we say it, but do we really believe this? Tomorrow really isn’t promised! Are we so busy living for tomorrow, that we miss out on living today?
Today’s interaction with the mail carrier, or my children, or my mom, or the cashier or a friend may be my last opportunity to interact with them. I want to live life in such a way, that I allow the presence and power of God to invade every moment of my life. I want his beauty to shine radiantly through me. I want his love and life to pour forth from my lips, my pen, and my actions. I want to live with far less judgement and categorizing of people. I want to live with less regret, and more confidence that my God is able to redeem all of my failures.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be successful in business. I’ve tried and failed many, many times. But I don’t want to fail in this: making every person I meet feel loved and valued. I don’t want to fail in this: every person having a sense that’s they encountered something Greater–the Spirit of the Living God within me.