Tuesday, July 10, 2007

a life begins, a life ends

Life stressors are those things that cause an unusually high amount of stress in our lives. These are things like marriage, buying a house, having a baby, losing or changing a job, having a family member pass away...our niece and her husband, Kathy and Craig, have had more than their fair share of stressors lately.

She is just forty, and they very recently had a beautiful baby boy. (They have two girls, one is twenty, one is fourteen.) Can you imagine their excitement at the long-awaited birth of their son? So you have this delightful event happening, and naturally she will be off work for a while. But now, Craig's dad passed away this last week. What a contrast. Good stress, bad stress.

We greet the one event with so much joy, and the other with such sadness. At the very beginning of a new life, when a baby is born, we look at the potential for that child. We pour our hopes and dreams into them as we bring them up. Every milestone, every new event is a celebration.

On the other hand, at the end of a life, we don't want to let go. We've developed a history with this person, so much that a part of us is defined by our relationship with them. Hopefully, we can reflect on what this person did with his or her life, and what it meant to us. Then we can look at what we want to do with our own lives to make them meaningful.

Craig's faith is so much a part of his life that he naturally shared that in his conversations with his father. Shortly before his father's passing, Craig was privileged to be there when his father accepted Christ as his savior. To everything, there is a season. This was Craig's season with his father. They had precious time together, although it was a short season. Again, such joy in the middle of sorrow.

The scripture that the pastor spoke from was Ecclesiastes 7:

1 A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
I had to think about that for a bit. Why does Solomon preface this talk about death with a verse about a good reputation being so valuable? I think it is because our reputations are directly tied to the choices we make every day of our lives. Every choice that is directed by our desire for integrity is also a reflection of the One who created us. Reflecting on death helps us make wiser choices about our lives. Death is the one thing none of us will escape. So how will we live our lives to make them count for something, to make them worthwhile? I think Craig has it figured out.

Thanks, Craig and Kathy, for sharing, and for letting us be a part of your lives. Love you guys!

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