Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life, Death and Birthdays

Saturday is my 51st birthday.  I can say that without too much crying these days, but I had a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around that big 'ol 50 number last year.  Perhaps people are being kind, but I'm generally told I don't look it.  I don't think I act like it, and my daughter often buys me clothes to make sure I don't dress like it ("No mom jeans, mom!").  Most days I don't feel like it - although I've noticed that it takes longer to heal from a strained muscle and I'm a little more tired than I used to be after a full day on my feet.  Rainy weather also brings out a few more aches and pains than it used to. 

The optimists say "it's just a number!"  The pessimists say "you think 50's bad...wait til you hit MY age!"  But most often, when I think about my age, I can't help but think that the number is 5...now almost 6... years more than the age my mom was when she departed this life.

I've been thinking about life and death and the years we're given a lot this week.  Two years ago, my mother's sister, my beloved "Aunt Ro", died on my birthday.  Ro had been gifted with 74 years.  Yesterday, I attended the celebration of life for a friend of mine who passed away last Thursday. Daveida had been gifted just 41.  While my aunt was far too young to die in my humble opinion, losing my mom and Daveida in their 40's was and is extremely difficult.  I took Daveida's passing hard, in part because it rocketed me back 25 years to when I said goodbye to my mom.  Like my mom, Daveida valiantly fought breast cancer for a number of years, even as it infiltrated other parts of her body.  Like my mom, she left behind 3 children and a grandchild.  Like my mom, she left this world far too soon for those who loved her.  And like my mom, she loved Jesus with everything in her, never wallowing in self pity over what she was going through, but rather spent her time encouraging others despite her own pain.

When we're young, we're contantly wishing we were older.  We want to reach those milestones of "double-digits", "sweet 16", "17 and driving", "18 and considered an 'adult'", 21 and "legal".  We're in such a rush to age we add fractions to the number...I'm 10...and a half, 12...and three quarters.  Then we hit 29 and we want it all to slow down.  Now we're 29 with a years' experience.   Why are we never satisfied to enjoy where we are in life? 

Job 14:5 says "Man's days are determined, you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed."  And Psalm 90:12 says "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom". 

We are given...gifted...a certain number of hours, days, months, years.  They are determined and we cannot exceed them.  I don't know why some are given more on this side of heaven than others, but that is the way it is, and the way it will always be.  BUT...no matter how many we have, we should "number our days aright - that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  We need to live knowing that they are numbered - not in fear of their coming to a close, but in consciously living them to the fullest, doing what we are called to do, and gaining a heart of wisdom.

My mom, my aunt, my friend...they got that.  Those who came in contact with them left in better spirits than when they came.  They left encouraged by the faith these women had, by their love for their Lord, by the knowledge - the wisdom - they had in knowing they were fulfilling God's purpose for their lives for as long as they drew breath on this earth...and that they would hear 'well done, good and faithful servent' when they finished this race and crossed into eternity. 

You may have heard the about "the dash".  There's the year you are born, and the year you die on your gravestone...and between them is the dash.  It's all the time you've spent here on earth in between those 2 dates.  It's the lives you've touched, the difference you've made, the legacy you've created.  We need to live each one of our years in the dash to the full. 

The day after Daveida went home to be with the Lord, I read this in my devotional, Jesus Calling:  "Try to view each day as an adventure, carefuly planned out by your Guide.  Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to Me and to all I have prepared for you.  Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift."  Daveida is living the ultimate adventure today.  She, along with my mom and aunt are face to face with their precious Lord and Savior.  But for now, I still have days gifted to me here.  God's work in me is not yet done, and to bemoan the time I've been given, to complain about 'my age', is not a good use of my time.

So as I reflect on life and death and the time we're given inbetween, I'm learning a few things - don't be in a rush - don't tack on halfs and three quarters.  Don't live in the past thinking of what might have been - you will miss today's adventure.  Be grateful for the age you are - it is a gift - whether the years are 41, 74, 45 or 51.  Your days are numbered, and they are to be used 'aright'.   Love God, love others, make a difference, and gain a heart of wisdom.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos, my dear friend. See -- it's from a totally different perspective. Don't doubt yourself. I'm glad you continued on, I loved this! I totally forgot the story about 'the dash.' Thank you for the reminder. Beautiful!

    And Happy Birthday, PSF!!!!!