I slept in this morning until about 10:30am. I’m finding as I get older that I cannot sleep like I used to. I recall in college not even bothering to register for a class before 11am. Now, there is some sort of internal clock that opens my eyes sometime around 9am. It’s a wonder how I lasted so long today.
While I found myself quite refreshed, recharged, etc. (And a smidge head-achy.) I also had a lot to think about regarding that decision to stay in bed and not roll out and do something more productive. Let me explain.
Recently, a friend of mine and colleague lost her husband to complication after a heart attack. It was sudden, it happened very quickly and my friend’s life has taken a huge detour as a result. While this particular situation is nothing less than tragic, it’s effecting me in a weird way. You see, (as you may have read in a previous post), my Grandmother who is very dear to me is heading into exploratory surgery this upcoming Tuesday. Something no one is looking forward to, especially me. She is my Superman and is in her late 70s, so any “procedure” is something to raise eyebrows about. So I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and as a result pondering mortality in general. I’ve never had someone close to me pass away. I recall my Great Grandma Bair passing when I was six years old. Grandma Bair played checkers with me and sang to me, and I remember her playing the piano at Thanksgiving once. But, in general, I’ve never experienced the tragedy of losing someone close to me.
At the passing of my friend’s husband…I’ve been catapulted back into the fuzzy world of “what’s going to happen next.” I’m nervous, confused, and saddened. I can’t imagine how my friend feels and my heart goes out to her.
Who hasn’t been forced to think about the ever present saying “Life is short.” Every effective marketing campaign begs consumers to act now before it’s too late. Whether or not you’re interested in that particular product…you either rush out to the shoe store to buy those new NIKEs and “Just Do It!” Or, you sit down and relax, choosing to stay home instead of heading off to McDonald’s, because you already “had your break today.”
Currently we have Presidential candidates boxing back and forth trying to convince the American people that they are right person for the job. They argue, mud-sling, bear their claws, and appeal. They stand on their toes to try and “show” you that their cause, their efforts, their platform…is the most important, and ultimately deserving the right to run the free world. Hmmm. Supports, marketing and killer Vice-Presidential hopeful speeches aside, it sounds hard to do to me.
I wake up every day and go about my day facing the onslaught of “here’s what you need to do” and “right here, right now” and after a while it turns into white noise to me. I pick and choose what interests me the most and I tune the rest out. I tend to, as Barry Manilow says, “turn the radio up, and turn the negative down.”
These everyday marketing campaigns, these efforts to attract and influence….are they effective? Well, let’s take a look at my current situation. I consider myself an ignorant Lutheran. Someone who wants to live my life for Christ. I freely admit that I’m no scholar of the Bible, and I try through self-study, prayer and worship to gain a fuller understanding of what the Lord wants me to do. But throughout that journey, I find myself distracted…thoughtless….and tired. I sleep in. I don’t take advantage of the time that I have in a way that would be positive and influential. My marketing campaign stinks. I’m suppose to be a spokes-person for my Lord and savior, spreading the good word of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and I have a hard time getting both legs out of bed sometimes. In this time of sadness and worry, that doesn’t sit well with me.
One of the scariest verses in the Bible to me is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, and it details that the second coming of Christ will happen like a thief in the night. My first house was burglarized about 5 years ago. I remember that feeling of hopelessness and fear as I collected up the remainder of my personal belongings off the floor. Should I live in fear of the second coming? Should I live in fear of my own death? Lately, I wonder.
I don’t think God wants us to live a paranoid life filled with constant worry and grief. Instead I think He needs us to know about how great He truly is. It’s incomprehensible. I suppose we can find comfort in the fact that my friend’s husband is in heaven with his Father. But, for us who remain living this mortal life on Earth…what’s next?
I argue that unforeseen tragedies like my friend’s husband’s passing, and anxious, worry-filled moments like my Grandmother’s surgery…..or anything, like a pop quiz in your class, or a flat tire….all are opportunities to reflect on the greatest marketing campaign we could ever turn around and launch. “GOD IS LOVE.” Through Jesus Christ, all things are possible, and through Him there is salvation in heaven.
It’s not enough to live life trying to be a better Christian. It’s not enough to pray, to worship….to believe. It’s not enough to worry, to fear, to be thankful, to be passionate. It needs to be more. It’s can’t be a slogan on a billboard that others might just pass by. It can’t be something someone can tune out. We all must go out and make disciples of all nations. We must be that active force and that loud noise. Salvation through Christ for all should be a goal. If we live our lives day to day….sleeping in, putting off tomorrow and ultimately skirting our chief responsibility….we will have no excuse in the end. We left the door open for anything, let alone a thief to enter in the night.
So, what now? I don’t know. I know I’m not perfect. BY FAR! But I want SO badly to express my condolences to my friend, and I want so badly to express my faith, trust, and support to my grandmother in this scary time for her. How can I do this? By making sure that my Lord is in charge. By sharing that same Lord with these people, and everyone else within earshot. That’s the sweetest white noise one could hear.
1 Thessalonians 5:2
1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.