...because we all have our motley moments!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life and Death

Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze. The older I get, the more I recognize celebrities who die. For a long, long time it was just River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain. Everyone else who died was old when I was a kid, so it didn't affect me much. But the deluge of celebrity deaths this summer has really made me sad. It also gives me the creeps. I start thinking ridiculous things, like, "Are these the end times? Are these people being punished for their misdeeds? What did Patrick Swayze ever do to anyone?" And then I think about my own life.
I had a rough year once. In April 2007, my cat died. Then my mentor teacher died. Then my mother-in-law was in a serious accident that left her bedridden for 3 months. During that time, my father-in-law succumbed to lung cancer. 7 months later, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. This past summer, in addition to the celebrities, 4 people I knew (or at least knew of - their loved ones are my loved ones) died. It's not the end of the world (as we know it and I feel fine) or punishment or anything else. It's just life. Life ultimately ends in death. The Bible talks about death a lot. Psalm 116:15 is a verse that has both angered and comforted me when I've lost loved ones. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." It's funny that it took the deaths of these celebrities this summer to make me start thinking about my own mortality. Because it's not that something new is wrong with the world. It's that I'm at the age now where famous people I grew up with are dying. Some of my friends' parents are dying. It's just another stage of life, which means I'm getting older and closer to my own demise. I'm not going to lie - even though I know I'll go to Heaven, the thought of death freaks me out. But my point is not to dwell on mortality or to be especially morbid. My point is that I've realized that my "bad year" was just life being life. It was nothing special and it certainly wasn't unique to the human condition. Because honestly, I've had other "bad years." There was the year my grandfather died, my parents divorced, and my house flooded. And the year when I was 4 and my parents and I all had the flu at Christmas and we were really far away from our family and I had a kidney infection and and and. You see what I mean? I could get really morbid and pessimistic if I thought about this stuff too much. Jesus told us it would be hard. It should come as no surprise when life is hard. In fact, John 16:33 says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." It's the last part of this verse I'm going to focus on. He's overcome the world. And I am truly blessed.


Lori said...

Oh when the house flooded...I can still picture Dakota running across the kitchen in a foot of water!

Liz said...

I still remember coming home from school and seeing water pouring out of the front door!

Donna said...

It's so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, isn't it? To look at a bunch of bad, unfortunate events and say, "why me?" But we don't always stack it all up and look at our mountains of misfortune. I think we do it when we're feeling overwhelmed. The difference between your really bad year and all the other bad stuff that has happened in the past is that in 2007, you were a mom. Just the everyday responsibilities of motherhood can overwhelm me, but when you add the physical and emotional stress of caring for and losing loved ones, this very natural part of life just gets to be too much.
That's when I am so grateful for my faith. Grateful that I can also stack up my blessings and enjoy my mountains of memories.

Karly said...

Whoa, HEAVY!! Death is hard to think about. And you have had more than your share it seems.

I guess it is a good reminder to celebrate life. Every precious day we are given!

Lindsay said...

I am typically not a worrier. I don't really get freaked out by things in the future. But every once in awhile it does overwhelm me. The night before I flew to Oklahoma I paniced that I wouldn't return (like plane crash....) For a breif moment I imagined people beind upset over my death.....even my kids. And I paniced.

I had to remind myself that God is in control. That my worry and panic over something that "might" happen is pointless. God sees the big picture. I find my strength through him!

Pam said...

Hey Liz, this was a very interesting post. I don't really know what more to say, but I wanted to comment to support you. Death is hard for me to think about. When my grandma died, all of her kids surrounded her and told her it was ok to leave. I can't imagine Alex someday having to do that for me.