Perspective is a good thing. You can get it any number of ways, but today's change in perspective happened because of a death. A young, beautiful wife and mother to two little children passed away this weekend. She loved God, she had a life that many people would likely envy. I knew her in high school, and it's easy to see that a life lost in such a tragic way is an incredibly sad event for everyone whose lives she has touched. I think it snapped a lot of people into reality, though. While early death is a horrible thing, especially for those left behind, it provides us the opportunity to focus on what is truly important.
I've been wandering lately. I've been all over the place and my focus has been wavering. I haven't been paying attention to what is really, truly important - God, family, friends. Yes, I have been dabbling in all three, but I haven't been really living and grasping on to my blessings. I want to live again.
Last year, I had an eye-opening experience when I started writing a daily gratitude journal. I felt that I really began to live after I started to focus on the good, the positive and the true. Somewhere in the start of this year, I started to lose my determination to keep my gratitude alive. I don't want to lose that. I feel like gratitude has been the key that has unlocked my life and my faith to an even greater degree. Focusing on the bad things - anger, bitterness, apathy, sadness, resentment - brings me nothing but heartache, but I've been finding myself going in that direction.
Today, something snapped in me and I woke up. I can't live this way anymore. I've been fighting to stay afloat and the only difference between me now and me last year is my focus. So I'm choosing again to focus on the good, on the true.
I'm grateful for...
Tears. Every time I think of Megan, my eyes fill with tears and my heart is heavy. I think of her children. I think of her husband. I think of her mother, and all of her family and friends who loved her dearly. Tears wash us on the inside. Tears remind us that something was important. I wasn't her close friend, but the sadness I feel is very real. God gives us emotions because he has them, as well. We were created in his image.
Friends. My friend, Tammy, came along with me today to Megan's funeral. We shared in the sorrow of her family and friends, and we were able to talk about the feelings and thoughts that this whole event brought up in us. It's so important to have compassion and to truly care about other people. I'm grateful to have friends like Tammy with whom I can talk, and with whom I can share my feelings about the loss of someone I barely knew, but whose loss affected me so profoundly.
Lifelines. God gives them to us for a reason.
Rain. Without the rain, there would be no growth - an object lesson for every life.
A thoughtful husband. Tonight, he came home from his guys' night out with a gigantic piece of cheesecake for me. He knows I love cheesecake, and thought I'd like some after such a rough and emotional day. I did like it...a lot...but I liked even more the fact that he was thinking of me when I wasn't there.
Change. I hate it and I love it at the same time, but God is usually the one who brings the catalyst into my path that causes me to realize that he's calling me to a new thing.
Hymns. There are a few that I love because they articulate what's in my heart better than I ever could. Hymns have been part of every phase of my life and they mean a lot to me. I don't care if some people think they are old-fashioned. They were written by people who had deep relationships with God and profound revelations of his love. They have inspired me to keep going in times when I didn't want to and they have caused me to remember my first love (God) on many occasions.
My hope is that you embrace the learning experiences, no matter how tragic they may be. I hope you grab on to life and don't let go. Embrace it and get every little ounce of it that you can.