"Even in laughter the heart may ache..." that's from Proverbs 14:13. And it is so very true in my life right now. I guess any time we tap raw, deep emotion we will discover that tears and laughter inhabit the same space. Such a paradox.
It has been a great delight to read all your comments on FB. (I'm working on making the comments section on the blog more user friendly; just not right now. Smile.) And the comments were especially intense this morning because of news I received. It is absolutely amazing how connected we are and don't even realize it.
My friend Susan (whose family recently returned to PA to pastor) wrote to tell me an amazing story. Her friend, Gloria, had asked Susan to join her in picking up a guest speaker they had coming in for their retreat. All three ladies were to go to dinner and then on to the opening service. Unfortunately, 20 minutes before they were to leave, something came up and Susan had to cancel. Gloria went on to the airport alone, picked up the speaker (Sandra) and you know the rest of the story.
Susan would have been in that fatal crash with them.
I have no words for the mysteries of God. They are truly unfathomable. (Please excuse the King James - it just suits this.) He takes one and leaves another. Gloria and Sandra's families are left to grieve; Susan's family is left in awe and wonder, marking the mercy. No one questioning God - just all wondering at His ways.
Then there was the message from a precious young friend of mine who leads worship for a Presbyterian church in Tampa. She too has experienced loss and she wrote to me quoting from my blog on sunrises. "Sometimes it's hard to remember that we will see the beautiful colors again 'tomorrow'. But we will," she said. "That is our promise." (Don't you just hate when someone preaches to you using your own words?! Smile.)
She went on to say that although she did not know Sandra, she considers herself a "remnant" of Sandra's ministry because of the fact that I've spoken into her life. (Her words, not mine.) But isn't that a powerful thought? Our "influence" reaches so much farther than we can imagine; touching people we may never meet!
Her comment caused me to wander down a pathway, wondering just what "influence" are we having in this world while we're privileged to be here? It's like a pebble that is tossed into a pond. The ripples go out so much farther than just the small impact point of the actual pebble.
And so it is with our lives. We are connected in ways we can not even imagine. The choices we make: to forgive, to hold bitterness, to be joyful, to be self-focused, to put others first.....they all have an impact that reaches far beyond ourselves. Sandra's life choices affected a young minister she never met because she affected me.
So I suppose that the real question of importance for this Friday morning is this, what "ripples of influence" is MY life sending out, impacting the lives of people I may never meet? In a time when so much seems out of control, I remember that Chuck Swindoll says the only thing we really can control is our attitudes.
Perhaps we would all do well to pause before we toss a "pebble of consequence"- will this produce ripples of selfishness or joy, forgiveness or bitterness, encouragement or heartache? We prefer to think that our words and actions affect only "me," no big deal. Not so! Hmmm.
We've all heard at some point the thought that the length of our lives is less important than the living of our lives. My dear Sandra packed a lot of "living" into her short 54 years! And because she chose well, her ripples of influence will reach far beyond her days here on earth. I want to step up to the challenge of living and choosing well; don't you?
God, grant that we may all live, cry and laugh in rich measure; doing our best to honor You completely while we yet have breath! Selah.