Friday, February 17, 2017

Life: It Is!

Yes, life just is. Put about any word that fits for you right now and it will be right.

Life is.

  • A friend's wife has cancer.
  • A retired friend, an iconic person in my years in ministry, is in hospice care.
  • A college friend, who later was a colleague of mine in a clinical practice, died suddenly only months after retirement.
Life is.

For this week, then, is a reminder that life is precious and fragile. Perhaps the fragility is part of what makes it precious. This is not a surprise. I have dealt with death since my parents died when I was a teenager. As a pastor I have officiated at funerals of an 8-year old and a nearly 100 year old.

Life is precious, fragile, and unpredictable. Of the three things this week, only the hospice care is less of a surprise. The other two- unexpected, out of the blue, a break in the fabric of my life, if only for a moment.

Yet a reminder that the break in my fabric of life will also happen one day. It is not an easy thing to think about when you feel happy, healthy, and younger than the calendar tells you. It is not easy, even when you are now older than just about anybody you knew in your immediate family. The mask of immortality that we all wear gets a little ragged around the edges on a week like this.

Which is good. We need that balance between mortality and immortality. We need to maintain that awareness of the shortness of life, yet without allowing that to infect us with defeatism- or fear. What is, is. What will be, will be.

So this week I am also grateful for what my life has contained- more than I can even make a dent in recounting.
  • Family! 
  • Friends! 
  • Career! 
  • Fun! 
  • Meaning! 
  • Joy! 
  • Health! 
  • I have been granted the opportunity to continue the best of both my personal and career worlds in retirement. 
  • I have had the chance to become the musician I have always dreamed of wanting to be. 
  • I work in a job that is rewarding, challenging, and never dull- but 
  • I am also "retired" so I can balance that work with my other passions.
That is only the surface.

For today, I am filled with these words attributed originally to a Confederate soldier, but as real today as they were a century and a half ago.

Most Richly Blessed
by an Unknown Civil War Soldier 

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might become wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given Life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers and true needs were fulfilled.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

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