Powerful Perspective from a Life Cut Short

I was reminded today how fascinating and humbling it is when you realize that every tiny decision you make has the potential to completely redirect your thoughts and spirit.

I had taken a needed break from my computer and was scrolling through Facebook when a friend’s post caught my eye.  She was mourning the loss of a beloved friend and mentor who had passed away in such a touching way that I couldn’t help but stop.

I hovered over the cited girl’s name and thought about moving on, but then paused…  curious and moved, I decided to click.

The Facebook page link popped into view to reveal a beautiful woman’s face. She looked young and vibrant, and it was clear after a few seconds that she had been remarkably successful and very well liked.  It said she had “changed her profile picture.” Underneath there were 58 comments. You could see after another minute it was an old picture and everyone was telling her how much they loved the shot… how wonderful she looked, the mood was light and cheerful again and again.

But at the very end, a few posts sent that cheer into a chilling 180 turn.

The last one read, “In the arms of The Lord.. Rest peacefully.”

Just underneath, the timeline continued; there were some of her own posts, added just a few days ago.

I sat there staring at the page for the longest time;  it was just so surreal.  The contrast between life and death when seen this way was simply staggering.

I came to learn she had heart failure in her sleep.    Age 42.

That’s my age.

Thoughts came rushing at me like wild animals.  The nightmare for her family, the shock, the paralyzing grief that would surround her life for days and even years to come.  All of her hopes and dreams  over — just… like… that.

I wondered if she had kids, if she was married, what she was dealing with or thinking of as she drifted off to sleep on that night, completely unaware her last breaths were hours away.

I thought about my own life – the things I had been anxious about, the hangups, the distractions, the ridiculous prisoner I had made my mind about things completely out of my control.

Bible verses filled my head.

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  Luke 12:25

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.  2 Peter 3:10

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:13-14

I was touched…. affected… deeply thoughtful.

How ironic the tragedies of life are almost always the only events powerful enough to shake us back to what really matters?

The gift of perspective often comes in the most unwelcome, unexpected packages.  Yet that gift can provide tremendous impact.

Returning from errands, instead of driving along with a single upward glance, I stopped to appreciate the magnificent pink clouds painted across the sky.

I breathed a word of thanks for the indescribable wonders displayed by our Creator; for His unyielding mercy and faithfulness.

I encouraged a friend.  Told someone else how much I loved them.

I stopped to refocus my thoughts and energies to the spirit – To love, gratitude, compassion…  to making a difference and making every moment count.

Oh that our focus would well up daily without the starkness of suffering and loss.

That we could stay planted in that wisdom every day.  That we could “live like we are dying” with the same dedication that we “live like we will never die.”

That we would wake every day determined anew to let our lights shine before men….  so that if tomorrow indeed did not come, we would join the Author of Life in perfect peace, knowing that we had left behind a trail of goodness, mercy, joy, laughter, compassion and love.

May her beautiful spirit be with God and may comfort and strength surround her family.

Comments

  1. Stephanie Pinkston says:

    Awesome perspective my dear friend. I can always count on you to make me stop and realize what is important in life.

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