This post was originally started a while ago, but for whatever reason, I never finished and posted it. Just as God would have it, today it is perfect timing….
In this life, much emphasis is placed on winning. In sports, team’s records are researched, pondered, analyzed and used in commentator’s scripts over and over. Rival teams are placed against each other, and fans tease one another all season long about who is going to “get their butts kicked” in the big game.
In the business world, people strive for the coveted “raise” and “promotion” and recognition that they are doing a good job. Even in relationships people often say “He won my heart”, or “She won my heart”. No one, ever says “All the other guys/girls lost my love for them.” No one ever rejoices over winning second place, and most certainly not coming in dead last. Well, not unless you are the proud parent of a child, and THEN it’s all “Honey, you were the most spirited kid out there! You should have won”.
However, there is one situation I feel more people should focus on, and celebrate; “losing”. When you are a Christian, there is truly no reason you should mourn someone losing their life. Of course it is difficult on those of us left behind, who really miss and love the person who passed away. But our mourning is just our selfish way of coping. If we were to be completely honest, we don’t truly wish our loved one was back on this earth with us. When we know what they are experiencing, the minute their heart stops beating on earth, there is no way we could say “Who would want heaven when you could have earth?”
I remember when my last grandparent died. It was my mom’s mother – my feisty, strong-willed, stubborn, but super funny and card-game-loving, Grandmother. The moment she left this world behind and walked into the gates of heaven, she walked right into the Father’s embrace – for He is who she had been begging to see for some time now. After greeting and worshipping the Lord, I’m quite sure she found my father so she could give him a hard time about something or other. My dad, I’m sure, had a great “Mother-in-law” joke just waiting for her arrival. She also greeted her husband, her husband’s dear friend, her grandson, her mother, her sister, granddaughter, her other son in law and several other family members. No, there is absolutely no way she thought, even for a second, about what she “lost”. She was firmly, and whole-heartedly celebrating what she had exchanged for her worn-out earthly body. Do I wish I could have given her one last hug? Sure. Do I wish I had said “I love you” again, before I left her side the last time? Absolutely, but I know she knew of my love for her. It’s amazing, and humbling, the people who drop everything and say “I’m here. What can I do?” Those are the people you cherish and appreciate more than you could ever convey. My Mom shared with me how God arranged her BFF to be free, and actually standing beside her, when she got the call about her mother passing. My sister’s boyfriend had arrived and was able to hold her hand as she and Mom walked in my Grandma’s room to say goodbye. I was visiting a dear friend, who was the very first friend I made, upon moving to Nashville, when I received the news. I was able to enjoy part of a day with her, smiling and laughing, and enjoying her friendship, before getting in the car and crying. Friends began calling to check on my family and express their love, before I even had a chance to call some of them. News travels quickly!
Christ commands us to bear each other’s burdens, and my family is extremely blessed to have many people who go above and beyond what we would ever expect. I’m not sure why I started reminiscing lately about my grandmother and all my other grandparents who died before her, but it made me think of all the times friends, family and others I don’t even know were there for us during a LOT of death in a short amount of time a few years ago. I hope to be that kind of friend to others when they need it. I hope this encourages you to be a friend in the good times but also in the bad times. We all need a friend.