Monday, January 31, 2011

Paradox

This past Sunday morning was a slightly surreal experience. Unlike what conditions are currently (we've got a potential ice storm predicted), the physical morning was beautiful. Warm, sunny, absolutely gorgeous. As we sat in church service, however, there was a deep pall that hung over everyone. Saturday morning we had learned of the sudden death of a member of the church. Nathan was only 25, married for 3 years, and he died on Saturday, technically of pneumonia but really from a battle with leukemia.

We had not gotten to know him very well. Had hung out at a few church events, but a lot of the events we had gone to, he had wound up not being able to attend because of the risk of getting sick while he was in the middle of chemo. What little time we did get to spend with him, he was such a cheerful person to be around. We always walked away saying, "We want to get to know him better."

And now he's gone. Just like that. 9am Saturday morning I open up my email and find the announcement. His life is over. Finished.

Sitting in service was so paradoxical with the brilliant sunshine blazing outside and the majority of those attending under a dark shroud, trying to deal with the grim reality of Nathan's passing.

And yet even in the midst of the blackness the presence of the Lord was there.

It's such a cliche to ask why it is that we have to undergo hard times to feel the need to draw closer to God. And yet the question still remains. We depend so much on our strength and wisdom when life is going well and we're on top of the world. And yet when the shadows come and we face mountains, we suddenly remember God.

My life has not been as tragically touched by Nathan's passing as many others I know of. I knew him, liked him, admired him for his incredible attitude and great spirit. But he wasn't an integral part of my existence nor me in his.

And yet I still find myself thinking of him--evaluating those things in my life that I am frustrated with or checking myself when I get tired because Blueberry just won't take a nap the last few days and has taken to screaming at the top of her lungs at me when she's hungry. Or when I look at our budget and see that the numbers just don't quite match up and I'm annoyed because I haven't gotten paid for work I've done, or I can't do as much work as I would like/need to because I'm trying to care for a cranky, overly-tired child. Or the dogs traipse mud in through my just-swept floor, a glass breaks creating extra work, and I forgot a good friend's birthday and feel bad.

Tomorrow every bit of it could be gone. My life as I know it could vanish in the blink of an eye. And even these frustrating moments would be precious in memory.

Times like these bring me back to the original thought of this blog:
living intentionally
holding each moment as the precious gift that it is
being not just doing.

It's so easy to forget the vital essence in this existence I have been graced with. And the paradox of life. For every sunny, happy day in my life, there is a dark blackness in another's life. And for every black moment I have, someone else is rejoicing in a perfect moment. All I can do is try to live with intentionality. Focusing on the one thing that matters above all else.

Of that, may Nathan always be a poignant reminder for me.

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