A letter

Archive for July, 2016|Monthly archive page

When living takes courage.

In Bloomfield on July 29, 2016 at 11:48 am


Certainly odd for me, but I just finished reading my second book on death. I sat alone in a quiet, sleeping house sobbing, barely able to read the last chapter. His (the author’s) story hit me at the core of my being. Maybe because my mom has had two brain surgeries this year. Maybe because we just had a baby, and I can’t imagine a goodbye like that. Maybe because the author that passed was only a year older than David. Maybe because we’ve said two painful goodbyes this year already. Or maybe because life is fragile, laced with unbelievable joys and aching tragedy. But maybe mostly because life is a gift, and I want to keep seeing it that way.

It is easy to forget that life is a gift, especially when it’s hard. I’ve wanted to hide from life many days this year. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true. The urge to crawl back under the sheets has been all to frequent. Life has been hard. I’ve felt so bare. We’ve had conversations, asked the difficult questions, reminded ourselves of God’s goodness and cried bottles full of tears—mainly mine. We’ve thought about giving up on dreams and leaving the mountain climb for something easier. As tears continued to fall the other night, I think what gripped my heart the most was realizing not my fear of death, but my fear of life.

In difficult times it’s not the uncertainty of life that makes it hard to keep going, but its seeming certainty. In the face of hardship, it’s the living of life I fear. I fear that there are too many hard days still in front of me. Grappling with death these past few months, as strange as it may seem, has been freeing. The worry about getting through tomorrow is suddenly relieved when I realize all I’ve been given is today. In facing death or life, I’ve only been given today.

There is a peace in surrendering to life as it is today, even through pain. In beauty or mess, in plenty or lack, in joy or pain, the only thing that is certain is today. I think God told us not to worry about tomorrow to protect our heart in times of trouble—to not worry about bearing the weight we feel today, tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Tomorrows aren’t given to us today.

This man’s courage to live while dying challenged me.  It challenged me to live my todays more fully—more yielded and present. It’s challenged me to soak up baby kisses, savor late-night chats with my hubby after long workdays, and to have too many scoops of ice cream. It’s also given me courage to face challenging days, knowing I only have to tackle today for now. This man’s courage also reminded me of another Man we know, who courageously faced death so we could have a better tomorrow. And, it’s because of Him that we do not have to walk alone.

Love,

Bep


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