Today a friend of mine is faced with the heartbreak of burying a beautiful little daughter. I try to imagine. I cannot imagine. I can only pray for comfort and the assurance of new life and resurrection to carry them today.
Recently I have heard so many stories of crushing loss: women losing their husbands to bullets, to other women, to mysterious illnesses. I feel so blessed, so unfairly blessed, you might say. I could wait around in suspense for the other shoe to drop. Or I could lift my head and thank God for what is given today and do what He says. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Most of the other translations say “Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious.” One even says, “Don’t be concerned.”
I am really good at being concerned. How about you? I like to think of myself as a trustful person, but after all, one has to be wise and think ahead and make decisions that make sense, yes? But what about all the things over which I have no control? What about accidents and other people’s decisions and how they affect me? What about heartache and grief? Maybe I should just retreat to an insulated fall-out shelter with stores of food and water to keep me safe?
Blessings are a little like slippery soap, I think. The harder I grasp onto the favor, the more frantically I have to grip and struggle to keep it from falling to the floor. But if I open my hands to hold the good thing that has been given, there it is, lying on the palm of my hand. I become a picture of reverence instead of a portrayal of possessiveness.
I like this quote from C.S.Lewis about the heart.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
I observed my friend with her gorgeous little girl, her baby whom she knew would not live a long life. I saw her pouring her heart and soul into her child, fully aware of the ache that was coming, yet bravely living life with grace and a rare flair for joy. Today my heart breaks for her and her husband as they pay the price for living with their hearts wide open and vulnerable. The loss is staggering. The gain is staggering.
I want to dare to live like that. It’s not always better to be safe than sorry.