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Monday, May 25, 2009

What can I learn from death?

Today was a rough day. It was tough to see so much pain in the eyes of people I love and respect. I got another taste of how fragile life can be this afternoon. One of my best friends since childhood lost his mother today. She was only 48. I remember growing up viewing his family as my own, knowing that if I ever needed anything they would be there for me. She was always there for others and I respected her strength. I owe a lot of who I am today to them. When I was younger my mom took me to church and taught me how to be a righteous and moral person but somewhere along the way we quit going. I remember it was his family that invited me to church again...and it was because of them I decided to continue in my faith. I don't know that I have ever told them, but I don't know that I would have ever gotten so deeply involved without their encouragement.

Death can teach you a lot about how you perceive people. I never really sat down and thought about what I thought of her. I didn't try to avoid it...It just never crossed my mind. I didn't see her often, especially after high school. My relationship with the family is due to my friendship...but I have always viewed his parents as role models in my life. This experience has made me realize how much I truly love and respect them. I am only now realizing how much they meant to me growing up.

I have never really been one to take life for granted but in times of loss one gains a bit more understanding of the frailty of life. A week ago there was nothing wrong with her. A couple days ago she was in the hospital with full expectancy of a full recovery. Life is a gift.

Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be. It is not enough. It is something. If we cannot "practice the presence of God," it is something to practice the absence of God, to become increasingly aware of our unawareness...
C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves: Charity.

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