Friday, October 2, 2009

Life and Death

I wrote this for my INTERN BLOG at Relevant Magazine, but I wanted to repost it here. Hope you don't mind.

Unexpectedly Enjoying: Jeremy Riddle-The Now and Not Yet, Steven Curtis Chapman-Beauty Will Rise (heartbreaking, beautiful, releases Nov. 3)

Today, while sitting at a stoplight lost in my own world of music and waking up on my morning drive to work (40 minutes), I thought I was going to die. That might be a little dramatic, but a semi-truck was taking one of those BIG turns and looked like it was going to plant it's cab squarely into my drivers side door. The fact that I am writing tells you that I made it out alive and it was probably a pretty safe distance from me, though in my zombie-like trance, it startled me. And call me morbid, but it made me think about life and death.

Last week a girl that I worked with at Kofenya Coffee died of the swine flu. Her name was Kimi Young and she was 23, a year younger than me. I saw her a month ago when I was visiting Miami University. I am not going to lie and pretend like me and Kimi were the best of friends, but we had a good time working together. I liked being around her; carefree, a modern hippy, she loved people well. One day she was ok, a week later she was dead from swine flu and pneumonia and hundreds (literally) of people miss her.

My scare with the semi, Kimi's too-soon death, and now listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's newest cd that is profoundly influenced by the death of his 5-year-old daughter put me in this introspective mood. After the semi swung by this morning I started thinking about what would have happened if that semi had given my a one-way ticket to heaven? Not whether I would have gone to heaven; because of my faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice, I am sure that is where I am headed. But how would people react?

How have I made a lasting impact? What are my relationships like? Have I had a fight with someone that hasn't been resolved? If ever there was an impetus to resolve conflict, it is the frailty of life (and that God commands it). I don't want to go and have the last memory someone has of me that we had bitter words. I want the last words I say to my family, my girlfriend, my friends to be "I love you" and not words in anger. I want people to look at my life and say, "That kid lived all out for Christ. He loved God and loved others well." When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if I am remembered as a great writer unless I wrote for a purpose. It doesn't matter if others thought I was good looking, but what was the shape my heart was in.

This is not some call for empty sentimentality. It is a call to consider how "you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)" That isn't a call to check out, it is a call to live out short life well. The worlds oldest man, Walter Breuning, turned 113 a couple days ago and gave an amazing speech. CLICK HERE to read it in its entirety. But one of the things he said was "Life is short but the influences of what we do or say is immortal. There needs to be much more of the spirit of fellowship among us and more forgiveness."

More than ever, I pray that as you contemplate this, you meet Jesus in a more real way. I will end in the words of Kimi on her profile before she said goodbye to this world: "I found myself in the one who made me. The one that knows who I really am. Behind everything I hide, he knows exactly what makes me tick. He knows more about me then I'll ever think about, he knew me before I had a name. He sees everything... and still has a plan for me." Amen

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