Recently, a very good friend of mine lost her mother, 95 years old.
My friend’s mother was a dynamic individual. She was extremely well read, especially biographies. She consumed books like meals. You would swear she was a Kennedy, she knew EVERY family members intimate details. Down to their sock color preferences… well that may be an embellishment but let’s just say she knew the Kennedys (and every other public figure of the last 2 centuries) inside and out.
She was a bastion of faith. She made everyone around her better by her presence. She exuded faith the way some women wear fragrance. She was very active in our church. I told my friend that St. Peter had a section in the VIP section waiting for her. The Lord would use her to teach the new Angels a thing or two.
She had a beautiful family. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A true legacy left on the world for generations to come.
She was not infallible and had her share of ups, downs and disappointments, just like the rest of us. However, throughout every test, challenge, or tear, she persevered. She got up every morning, and went about her day with intention. She would offer everyone a smile. A warm hello. A caring grasp. She lived and loved generously.
Another person I don’t know, lost a child. A beautiful 18 year old girl in a terrorist attack in Manchester England at the Ariana Grande concert. 22 people died actually, however she was the face I saw on the news first. Young, innocent, beautiful. Tragically taken away from her family. Unexpectedly. With no warning. A supposed to be innocuous event that turned tragic.
I wonder how many books this young 18 year old read in her short lifetime? What she liked, was passionate about? What were her life’s dreams?
No chance to grow old… get wrinkled. Yes, I, the vainest woman on the planet wrote “get wrinkled,” creams and serums can’t take away experience. This young woman will never have a grey hair or a first home. No wedding, children, grandchildren. All things we take for granted until they are taken away.
Maybe she did have a good 18 years, and would say to us “yes I had a good life.” But what about the unrealized hopes, dreams. They count too, don’t they?
Or is it simply in God’s hands and His plan is just that? We get no say and her 18 years were her life well lived?
In my opinion, at 18, she won’t know what she missed. Sad. I can offer no further comment because thinking about her leads me back to my own suffering. Today is not about me.
So the point of my story is that a life well lived doesn’t mean a “great, no pain, I am super wealthy financially and have a private jet” existence. It simply means to have lived. Experienced both joy and pain. Persevered. Read a book. Smile at the sun. Love without abandon.
Live with intention.
I wish everyone who reads this strength. And love, from me.