There are a couple of things that I’ve realized and learned lately. Some of those things include: it is usually not a good idea to give a seventh-grader a cup of dirt as a sermon illustration because they will be tempted to eat said dirt; never order a deep-fried grilled cheese, even if it sounds good on the menu, it will ultimately have a 3:1 bread:cheese ratio; always look before you put shoes on in a dark garage, or else you will end up walking around town with one green flat and one purple flat.
But most importantly: when your friend is hurting, you have to drop everything and be there for them. Something happened recently that I would truly say is a tragedy. My friend is hurting and will be hurting for a while. My heart breaks for the entire situation. Life is so incredibly fragile. In less than a second, the world can feel as though it is crashing all around and nothing will ever be the same.
Life is short. I’m a strong believer than when tragedies hit, your focus needs to change. Sometimes it involves dropping everything and being there for those important to you. I hate so much that I was committed (and still committed) to being several states away from my best friend as she was bound in bed by grief. I will be back with her in less than a week. It is a long healing process. There will probably never be complete healing, because let’s face it: as much as we may be able to forgive, we never really forget. Times like these bring me to throw poetic terminology out of the window and I’m left not knowing what to say at all. Mostly my response is, “This sucks.”
I also had a pretty tough goodbye last night. I said it wasn’t so much a goodbye as it was a “see you later,” but that didn’t make it any easier. My youth pastor who has been a mentor and a large influence in my life for the past six years (maybe a little longer) is moving to Utah. He has accepted a senior pastor position in Salt Lake City and while I am extremely excited for him and his family and this new opportunity for them, I am extremely sad to know that he won’t be there when I go home. But I know that this is a great new adventure for them, and I am thankful that God is blessing him and his family. I know that they will be closer to his wife’s family and surrounded by a wonderful church family. Yet, they are like my family and when family moves farther away, it is always a little difficult to wave goodbye.
Maybe that’s how we should all operate. Less saying goodbye and more saying “see you later.” Life is short and life is fragile, but I believe God’s grace is big enough to cover all of us. It’s an ocean and we are all sinking. Sometimes we don’t get a chance to say goodbye. Sometimes they’re gone and we are left without them next to us. I know it’s been said before and this isn’t a new idea, but I believe very strongly when you love someone you tell them and you tell them all the time. You don’t let a moment pass without letting them know how important they are to you. It is easy to take people and things for granted, but life is so fragile. We are breakable. Isaiah 61:1 says that He “binds up the brokenhearted.” That doesn’t mean so much that He removes the scars of our brokenness, but He heals us. We are breakable, but we are not alone to pick up the pieces.