This post is dedicated to my fun and funny friend, Jan Lucas, April 28, 1961-August 14, 2010
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Eccl 1:14 NIV
Are you feeling windblown today? Are you fretting over people, places, and things you can’t control? Are you trying to win when winning does not matter? Are you upset over events that are meaningless within the perspective of eternity? A recent series of events has given me a new perspective on chasing after the wind.
I couldn’t imagine my friend, Jan, dead. She was only 49. I shuddered as I remembered laughing with her over everything. She lit up a room when she entered. Even when she was upset, she found humor. She worked full time as an assistant to a department head at a university and part time as a licensed mortician. Through her university job, she traveled all over the world and had an amazing understanding of cultures. Her training and experiences as a caring mortician gave her calming perspectives and insights that the rest of us depended on. They say if you want something done, you give it to a busy person, and Jan’s church had come to depend on that. The last time I saw her, I sat with her in her church and was amazed at how many people came over to ask her about some church project they were working on. I teased that she had fingers literally in every pie professionally and personally. Her husband and two daughters beamed as they watched her flit from person to person. Beautiful Jan was full of earthly life one minute and in heaven the next. It seems inconceivable that it could happen so quickly and yet it did.
Jan was a member of a weekly spiritual support group that I participated in for 3 years. We discussed our relationships with God, family, friends, church, and employers. We shared our feelings and struggles. Honesty was our guiding principal and we were careful to protect secrets. We occasionally met for lunch, for coffee in individual homes, and even visited each other’s churches for special occasions. We were friends.
Jan was the 4th member of that 6 person group to die since I moved away 4 years ago and all but 1 of the women were younger than me. Each died of differing conditions that destroyed the frail human body quickly. As I remember discussions and admittedly even whining in those intimate gatherings, I realize how truly windblown most of us are. As a group, we discussed issues with children, husbands, jobs, and finances as if they mattered. With perfect hindsight knowledge, would those things have been so important if we had known those lovely women had such a short time left on earth? Perhaps we’d have chosen to sit together in parks talking with God and each other while feeling the sunshine on our faces. Maybe we wouldn’t have cared so much about scattered newspapers left by hapless husbands and thoughtless remarks by distracted children. Unreasonable bosses, dwindling checkbooks, and church disputes lose their power with the decay of earthly bodies.
One of my mentors has a saying, “Life is life.” My life has vicissitudes that mimic things that matter. My husband recently had the thrill of getting to observe the next Mars Land Rover. Bob and I are excited about a planned romantic getaway. My granddaughter’s 2nd birthday is soon. As I write this, my mother sits in the waiting room of a cancer doctor. I spent the morning researching depressing elder care options for my beloved aunt and uncle. I reviewed the gloomy ministry checkbook and wondered what we were going to do. I talked to my youngest granddaughter and ached to hold her. I washed clothes, answered e-mail, and made my husband breakfast and dinner. Are all of these things meaningless under the sun? The answer is yes and there is relief in that answer.
When I look at life through the eyes of eternity, loving God and people more is all that matters. I can pass through thrilling and disturbing life events with the knowledge that my eternity is secure and forever. When I realize that an entire earthly life is a tiny blip in all of eternity, I understand what it means to live 1 day, 1 minute, and 1 second at a time with the peace that passes all understanding. Mathematically, a life of 5, 30, or even 100 years are all the same when the ratio is to an eternal timeframe. As I wait for news of my mother’s health and God’s wisdom regarding the next steps for my aunt and uncle and ministry checkbook, I do so while being held in the loving arms of a Father who has a perfect place already prepared for me. When my husband arrives home tonight, maybe I won’t care if he leaves his dishes in the sink or hugs the cat before he hugs me. When we love God with our entire minds, hearts, souls, and strengths, love for our neighbors becomes a guiding principal that improves the world around us. That sure beats feeling windblown.
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