We, the Living

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”— Psalm 23:6

As I slowly get accustomed to my “new normal” of an out-of-state college student and a dad who went to be with the Lord, through my grief I have pondered many things.

I recall the last moments of my dad’s life on this planet— peaceful, calm, yet purposeful. His body shut down, little by little, inching its way closer to death. The moments ticked away and he headed through a doorway into a new life, and just like that, he was gone.

Anyone who has watched a person die knows what I am talking about. TV shows,  movies, articles on the internet, all of that, seems half-baked in comparison and cannot prepare one for seeing that moment happen. For better or for worse, those last moments are branded on my heart and soul for life.

Nature is like this as well. We have barn swallows that live all summer in my parent’s barn. We watch them wheel through the sky, catching bugs, observe them swooping into the barn to tend their nests, and see them lined up on a power line above the house. But the last week of August, we saw them, then the next day, they were gone. They had left, winging their way to South America. They left the day before my dad did. On their way to a new life.

Such is death. One moment a person is here, the next moment they are gone. Just like the swallows. We keep records when the swallows leave year to year, and it always seems to be a day or two apart from the previous year. But with a person, there is no record, no way of knowing…it just happens in a moment. And we, the living, are left to pick up the pieces of our lives and move on.

I have figured out that life does move on. There are days when my thoughts are captured back in those last moments, but then sunlight glints through the trees or I hear a cardinal singing, or a child playing down the street, and I, the living, move on.

Life is precious. In one moment it could be gone. I remind myself of this as I seek God on how to live. We the living, what are we living for? Whom are we living for? Are we living to serve ourselves and what we want, or are we living for something greater?

Tough questions to ponder… but I do, and I hope you do too. Because we, the living, are alive for a reason. We are not gray and stone-cold and buried under six feet of dirt. When we seek God and His purpose for our lives, His goodness and love will follow, till those last moments…. when we go to live a new life with Him.

Prayer—“God of life, my days are ordained by you, so teach me to live. Make my life purposeful and teach me how to serve you and others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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