Life is Precious
This is an accidental mantra I have picked up in the last few years.
It started when my friend’s heart suddenly stopped while he was training for a marathon. On a typical Thursday, a sleepy evening after work, he was running with his team and his heart just hit the permanent stop button. Not even the doctors and nurse running on his team could extend his time.
In the hours, weeks and months following this shocking event, it became pretty clear that life would never be the same. Not for his wife, quiet and strong. Not for his infant daughter, just starting to recognize her dad’s face and his voice. Not for any of his family or large extended friend group. And indeed, life never has been the same.
I imagine this story triggers other memories for you, times when life just kind of changed suddenly and -whoosh!- it was never the same. Imagining your shock, pain, and even your first attempt to put the “why” pieces together, I lean into your experience with a tender heart of trying to understand and feel with you. The truth is, however, we might not ever understand the “why.”
All I know, in these brief grief pangs, is that life is precious. And in hospital rooms, on comfy living room sofas, in the church Sanctuary, and even on the dusty sidewalks, I have heard your stories and have murmured the words, Life is Precious hundreds of times with you since that atypical Thursday evening.
Life is Precious (period).
During COVID, we have collectively learned more about the medical community, science and even ourselves and loved ones in the midst of so much change. From the beeping machines keeping a steady stream of oxygen in and out of battle-scarred lungs, to the deafening silence of the lonely, to even the weird and strange ways we learned to cope.
Some wild and wonderful came from these last nearly two years, from increased creativity and use of technology for connecting, to rethinking how and why we spend our time and resources, to even the information we take in and choose to filter out. As Harvard acclaimed psychology professor Steven Pinker says, “Humans are informavores — we live on information. It is remarkable how much interaction can take place by language alone. People fall in love through epistolary courtships, and many of us have sustained friendships, family ties, and romances over long stretches by phone.” Life is precious.
Reflecting God’s Image
Pinker goes on to share how nothing replaces in-person, face-to-face contact because -ding ding!- we humans are also incarnate. We are created in the incarnate image of God, “where Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14~) and, as such, we are skin and bones, finite bodies created by an infinite God.
It all goes back to Reflecting God’s Image…
- in the beautiful Fall afternoon moments, with the sun upon your shoulders and a gentle breeze felt on your skin and in your hair.
- in the really sad days when your heart misses someone or someplace so much, you think it might shrivel up and disappear.
- in the mundane Thursdays when everything seems boring and tiring.
- in the super giddy, excited giggles of a young child discovering something new.
- and, in those little moments where nothing seems important and, yet, that’s a moment you play back in your mind for many years to come.
Worth Repeating: Life is Precious
For whatever wild and wonderful reason, God has placed you on this Earth today. Your job is to breathe deeply, take it in, and really dig into the dirt of this day. Plant something, grow something, ready yourself to be available to a friend, a stranger or even yourself today. While we can easily say, “You never know what will happen” and dismiss an array of life’s questions, we can also approach our time as FULL of Possibilities. FULL of Joy moments. FULL of Spaces to be fully present and to feel all of it. Even the risk of tears or vulnerability might be worth the times to embrace the fact that Life Is Precious, and today is your day to honor this life in all its forms. You are the gift. You are today.
a prayer: God, here we are today. With all that is going on in my head, my heart and throughout my life, here you are with me. Thanks for that. When I get distracted, you are on call to be with me when I’m ready. When I get discouraged, you constantly offer “God winks” to cheer me up. Help me to be aware of your presence with me. Thanks for always answering my invitation and daily RSVP’ing in my life. Amen.