I’m going out on a limb here. I don’t know how to confirm this, but I’m willing to bet that most of us haven’t had a near-death experience. I’m not talking “that almost-car-wreck could have ended my life,” or “that nearly scared the livin’ daylights out of me” moments. I’m talking about those times when you can legitimately say, “I almost died.” Like, medically speaking, you almost died.
But I have.
For the sake of my own privacy, I’m going to spare you the details of my near-death experience. I almost died. But suffice it to say this: 1) I have legitimate, undeniable proof that I do not cuss. 2) It’s good to know that I turn to Jesus when my actual life is in danger. 3) That was the most pain I could ever imagine experiencing in my life.
Sorry if that’s not enough information for ya. But really, #sorrynotsorry.
But there aren’t words that quite explain how a person’s life changes after this happens. It’s true. Sometimes people make immediate drastic changes to their own lives. I’ve heard of this happening after someone survives a massive heart attack. They change their diet, their jobs, their stress management techniques.
Here’s my thing, though: I want to spend my life instead of letting life spend me. Spend my life watching my kiddo grow up. Spend my life getting old with The Hunk. Spend my time working to be spiritually healthy. Spend my energy making healthy physical choices. Spend some time creating pretty things. Spend dinner time eating foods I won’t regret. Spending time making memories and capturing them.
And that means I don’t want to pour my life out wastefully. I don’t want to waste my energy on things that aren’t building up something: like working with people who are selfish or abusive, or arguing about something with a stranger, or allowing someone to speak into my life if they are toxic.
My mom always said we’re not promised tomorrow. It’s a scary thought, but it’s a terrifying reality.
So, now I’m on a mission: Honor the Lord, love my little family, practice gratitude, and be kind to myself.
Will you join me? How are you living a life on a mission?
Today is a solemn day for me and much of my family. Five years ago, my beloved grandmother lost her [third] battle with cancer.
And I was there.
And it was heart-wrenching.
I think the worst part was watching my mother lose her mother. She literally choked back vomit.
Even though I had lost two great-grandparents, one other grandma, a cousin, and a few school mates, this moment was the most profound moment of my life. To this day, I can remember everything. It was about 2:15 am and we had all had an opportunity to say our goodbyes, even though we were still praying for a miracle.
To say the least, it is very profound that today’s Blogtember prompt is “something old.”
After my aunts and uncles settled my grandma’s estate, my mom gifted to me my grandma’s old camera.
It’s an old Hachi KX-66 with a hotshoe flash.
They’re going for about $20 on etsy.com and some weirdos on eBay are trying to squeeze $100 out of it. You couldn’t get me to sell this for all the money in the world.
I wouldn’t say that Grandma and I ever even discussed a passion for photography. She did love putting pictures on her walls, but I don’t know how hard she worked to be sure pictures were taken at family events or church outings.
All I know is she had this beauty.
And, just for fun, that flash goes with me to all my shoots. I don’t even put batteries in it, but it works. Even with my fancy schmancy DSLR.
That quilt the camera and flash are on? Made by my great-grandmother: her mother-in-law. Also old: made for me when I was a kid.
It’s like I get to carry her around with me.
And she gets to hang out with my husband at our house, even though they never met.
And one day, when I have my own photography office, this vintage camera will be central in decorating.
And I’ll wink at Grandma, who is no doubt cheering me on every step of the way.
With tears of fondness and mourning,
Listen. Despite everything you try to do on your own, you were born into a world wrought with sin. Sin sounds like a terrible word. Well, it kind of is. Except that we don’t initially earn sinfulness. In the same way, we don’t earn unsinfulness. Is that a word? Anyway, my advice is to take the only route out of the eternal falling: believe in Jesus. Believe. In. Jesus.
Then you’re saved from dieing eternally. Like, I mean constantly. Imagine burning forever without ever reaching death. That’s kinda what hell will be like.
So take my advice.
As I think about today’s prompt, a few ideas run through my mind. Every time I think of something terrifying to me, I go through the if-then statement. It always ends with God. If that happens, I still have God.
I hope I can be that strong if the time comes.
So, my biggest fear would by default be anything without God.
Friends who never believe in Jesus.
Decisions made without considering God’s plan.
Money spent without consideration of God’s stewardship given to me.
Pursuits that are not evil in and of themselves, but that take away from God’s time.
Anything without God is terrifying.
This is a story of a girl who lost her high school sweetheart. This is a story of a mother who lost her first born, a father who misses his oldest legacy, and a brother whose role model no longer walks ahead of him on this Earth. This is a story of two best friends who are missing someone and a high school graduating class who will not see one among them at the five-year reunion.
This story is strange because it is not just an end. This story is also a beginning and a continuance. For some, this loss will spur a lifetime of mourning and pain: every memory both a joy and a pain, every morning a reminder that Cameron’s gone up ahead. And at the same time, this loss is a continuance of pain and mourning–a second or third reminder that every life is precious and can end in the most untimely of ways.
This story is a tragedy, a romance and a comedy. With this death comes a reminder that life can take a tragic and dramatic change; for a boy who is active in athletics and in life, there are few things more tragic to friends and family than sudden and unexplained death. This romance is unlike any other. A man and a woman fell in love and started a family; in the midst of their lifetime romance, these parents must bury their son, who leaves behind a high school sweetheart whose heart and life will never be the same. But let’s not forget that, with this death and with many, there is a reminder of laughter as friends and family reminisce about the fun times: the formal dances, the Halloween costumes, the grueling class projects, and the high school graduation day. In the midst of mourning, friends and family spend much time laughing at the crazy days spent with the missed one.
Furthermore, this is a story of grace. Jeremiah 29.11 says this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” In this verse, we can find hope that the Lord, in His infinite and all-knowing nature, knows what He’s doing. In the midst of our very deep and seemingly unending pain, we must grit our teeth and acknowledge that God has a plan for us, too. While Cameron has already finished his journey, we must continue. We must press on so that we, too, can attain that future and hope that God has for us.
There is a story about joy, too, here. Even though the possibility of ever feeling joy again may seem bleak and the emptiness in our heart too much to handle, we must firmly cling to God’s promise to be with us. We must remember that God serves as our Ultimate Comforter and that He remains with us continually, so long as we believe in Him.
Disappointment abounds in this story. And that is okay. Even David, in the Bible, suffered immense pain and disappointment. And he wrote, in Psalm 23.4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” David, who lost deeply, took comfort in God. We, too, can take comfort in God. If we’ll simply ask, Jesus Christ will let us climb up into his lap and cry, scream, or just be. He is not insulted by our pain. He does not neglect us because we are confused or angry. Our human emotions are always permitted; and He will comfort us forever.
This story could be your beginning. It could be your beginning of seeking to honor Christ in your own life, so that you, too, can bring this Gift to others. This story could spur you to live, forever changed, so that you might experience grace in the midst of an end, a continuance, a tragedy, a comedy, a romance, a joy and a disappointment. What is your story?
Update on 10.10.16
Please visit Cameron’s Cause to learn more about the fight to help prevent deaths like this for high school students.
When Dr. Mary Lee Thornton Brady died, the whole college community came to the funeral. Some to pay respects to a beloved colleague or family member, others to thank their late professor for lessons learned and memories made.
The line at the visitation was about as eternal as her new home. You could hear people solemnly talking about a wonderful woman and people laughing without reserve at her crazy quirks.
Alive, Dr. Brady had been a monument– a sort of rite of passage at Georgetown College. Everyone who took her loved her and hated her. People cried and people pressed on. At any rate, people learned.
(This is a work in progress. To be updated and revised…)