A Reflection of Life and Death

December 27, 2020

A reflective morning often begins in the still of the quiet that surrounds us. For years I’ve been held by this captivity of what God is calling me to do, what my heart desires to do, but how my mind chooses to go against the force of the calling and lay still. Thinking about it, but doing nothing. As I set out on my first day of habitual writing, I can’t help but fester with excitement. Where will God take me in this journey? How will he use, quiet, still mornings for the good, in my obedience to his calling? Will I fail? Will I soar?

Whatever the outcome, I’m willing to give my best effort to fulfill this calling. So, I raise my glass to day one of Kristy’s organized chaos that festers in her heart and mind….. on paper.

If I took a moment and itemized each thought or line item in my mind, I would be here for months….But I’m going to work hard to quiet my mind and truly just focus on what God is calling me to in my heart.

This morning. For whatever reason, God is putting the subject of “death” on my heart. I wish I understood why it’s a morbid subject….but maybe there will be a curve in the words God is throwing at me.

When I think of death. Today. I think of life at the same time. It could be that my mind this morning is thinking about preparing cupcakes with my youngest for her Pop-Pop’s birthday? Life breathes fresh air in our lungs, and takes away the heaviness of the death. Once again, trying to refocus from what my mind wants me to say, vs. what my heart wants me to share.

So here we go.

Death. When I think of death, I first think of my grandmother. A woman whom I could talk to for hours, play uno and Sega genesis for days, and carry on a conversation about “Touched By An Angel” for years. Losing her in my teenage years was probably one of the hardest chapters of my life. In the middle of trying to identify who I was, and navigate changes in my body, losing my person, left me confused, and lonely.  I have memories of spending quality time with my grandmother at her bedside in her homebound, illness. I have one memory of being at the Bloomsburg Fair with my grandmother, otherwise, the rest are within the walls of her living room, which was equipped with a hospital bed and an oxygen tank. Her life lines

My grandmother was a voice of reason on the telephone. She was a gentle, calm, motivation, who listened and allowed me to sift through my emotions, by just being heard. Truly, she was a true example of an influential person who spoiled me with time. She had favorite songs that honored Jesus, and a spiritual connection with the idea of breaking away from oxygen and going to heaven. My grandmother, gave me peace with the idea of death. The idea that there is a positive other side to the life we live. That there is a comforting, soft, landing place, that we are being equipped to move into. To make the most of the years we live, and love the humans we were blessed to call our own.

A quote I once read, by Abraham Lincoln and used in the untimely death of my adoptive father, once said “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years” This quote reminds me of some influential losses in my life. When I think about their impact for some reasons, I’m left with an image of  a man smoothing out fresh concrete surface with a trough. Paving a concrete foundation that will be walked on, swept, broken, cracked, loose a piece here, there and weathered over time.  But the initial product is smooth, fresh, and hardening. Over time, the weathering of the product, takes refinement and repair. Eventually it will wear thin and most likely need to be rebuilt, or possibly removed.

I guess where my heart is going with this, is what is the path that we are paving for ourselves and those we love? What is the legacy that we are leaving? What do you want to be remembered for?

As I prepare to honor and celebrate my father-in law’s “48th” birthday today… I’m so blessed to think of stability. I think of a selfless man. A sounding board on long car rides. I think of security and comfort in his presence. I treasure his courage in a moment of despair for me. His ability to bury his pain deep down, so I never carry the guilt of his pain he endured to protect me. My father-in-law, often has a direct, honest, yet loving view on life. He is easy to talk to, yet intimidating at first. He’s smart. He’s honest. He literally, has shown us, since a young age, what it means to really show up for your family. A hard-working man, who has traveled more miles for work than I can count, has never missed a sporting event for my children…This was the same for his own kids. He could spread out across the county in ways, I couldn’t even fathom.  I truly can’t think of life without him. He’s given us a few scares in the past, and then in a world of Covid-19 he’s second on my most important list to protect. First, being his mother.

Death, can come in waves of fear, and waves of peace. When one is suffering, we find peace in their passing. When one is living, thriving, we fear what a pandemic could do to them or our family. Which is why I think the moral of my heart this morning is to live in the moment. To hold tightly onto the positive memories that breathe fresh air into our lungs. To grasp the time, we’re given with those we love, and forget about the stuff. I’ve seen amazing families, literally forget about all of the worldly stuff.  Material things, politics, all of it, in the moment they were running up against the fight of their lives, or the lives of their own children. None of that matters. None of the stuff truly makes a difference.

When I speak of my grandmother, you learn of her amazing attributes, and her tender heart. You have no idea of her housing, car, or financial status. Because none of that made a difference in eyes. Same as my father-in-law, who is living, I think of the love, legacy, and loyalty, he’s built in our family foundation. I think of him as a man of his word, and a man who has paved as strong foundation for his family. A man who gives a positive example of a husband and wife being a team. He rises to do all kinds of responsibilities, and never complains even in his own suffering.

As I set out on the day, to celebrate a super influential human in my life, and yet was given the word “death” this morning. I find that, it’s important to embrace each year, each moment, and each celebration with a grateful heart. When I think of the sixty-two years that my father-in-law has been alive, I’m grateful that I have been able to spend 21 of my own years with him as a true life example of an honorable man.. I’m grateful that I have such an inspirational man who is refreshing and refining a concrete foundation for my family to observe and strive for.

An amazing woman in my life once told me, “Kristy, each day I live, I’m closer to death, we’re all dying” That was the words she gave me with the testimony of her terminal diagnosis.

So, how will you live each day, that you are moving closer to death? Today, I celebrate one of the most remarkable humans in my life. I also celebrate being obedient to my heart. Today, is victory. Be blessed, and be kind.