I was just reminded again today about how REAL life is, and I was ashamed of my whining and petty complaints the last few weeks.At 7am this morning I thought of a good friend of mine whom I haven’t been in touch with for a few weeks, so I just sent her “hey, how are you doing?” It was the wee hours of the morning on her side of the world so I wasn’t surprised not to hear back from her right away.
A few minutes later though, I was surprised to receive a frantic message from my sister – it being soon after midnight in her time zone – telling me that one of our cousins, a boy in his teens, had been hit by a motorcycle earlier that day, and was in hospital.
I was relieved to know that his injuries though severe weren’t life-threatening. My dad had emailed, and said he’d broken a leg, dislocated his collar bone, and that while had some head injuries, overall he seemed to be in a stable condition. I messaged his older brother immediately to let him know I’d heard the news.
I then went about my day, happy and thankful that my cousin’s condition hadn’t ended as badly as it could have.
A few hours later, my friend replied, apologizing for having been off the radar & telling me things had been going alright. And then she told me that today was the 13th anniversary of her father’s passing away.
I was stunned.
I knew about him, in the back of my head somewhere. But I’d never known the date of his death prior to this.
While this anniversary in itself was sad, my heart went out to her all the more because just a year and a half ago, this same friend lost her younger sister (in a car accident that looked staged, so it could possibly have been murder…and it look 2 weeks to repatriate her sister’s body, and she had to identify her upon arrival..and the body was in terrible condition…Gosh, it was terrible.)
So today, she mourned and missed both her father and sister, a single mom alone with her little girl, her own mom oceans away.
I couldn’t imagine what it was like to lose 2 members of my family before I turned 30. I had no words to tell her, no comfort to offer that would do her grief justice.
We exchanged a few messages, and in the midst of it, I found myself instinctively drawing closer to God on her behalf, in the hope that as I offered up a prayer for her, having nothing myself to give her, I prayed that God Himself would pour his love and light into her broken and grieving heart.
I tend to think that I’m “long suffering”, and I’d normally think of myself as someone who takes on other peoples problems. Today I was humbled, because I realized how shallow I am, and full of myself, to think that I could begin to drink from another’s well of sorrow. I was thankful yet keenly aware that I’ve yet to experience that kind of soul-searing loss – that I have yet to know what that kind of “suffering” is, nor how I’ll endure it, because it is a long and hard road.
Tonight, I was reminded that I’m not the savior of the world. I can’t fix anyone’s problems, bind up their wounds, nor heal their pain. Tonight, at the end of my relatively problem-free, happy, casually productive work day, I was reminded of the hurt, and suffering, and reality of life.
Tonight, I thought about the young cheery girl whose life had literally & brutally been cut short at 24; about these two sisters who’d become like sisters themselves to me since I’d met them 7 years ago.
I thought about my young cousin lying in a hospital bed, and about his distraught older brother, 22-years old and alone in another country for his studies, who’d just informed me that his little brother was scheduled to go into surgery the next day.
His status message read, “Lord, this is my only brother🙏😭…Heal him Father…Brother, God will never fail you.”
I thought about how infinitely big the world is, and how little of it we can control, and I thought about how small the world’s become too – messages flying around the world and instantly connecting us across the divide of land and sea.
And I thought about death, and about how fragile the string of life is… About how easily I forget that’s it’s a truly thin veil that separates life & death, caught up in the busyness of the mundane and the thought that “I can always see them another time”, when that might not be the case at all.
And I found myself – my priorities & perspectives re-adjusted – brought to tears at the feet of the One whose life was poured out to achieve what I can never accomplish…rewriting the story of humanity, triumphing over sin & death, assuring the joy of reuniting with loved ones, and the ultimately, my only hope of healing, hope & redemption in this life and the one to come.
Tonight, I surrendered myself once more; my helplessness and my need – and that of my world, right there at his feet.