The time we are given . . .
I have often been told that growing old is no fun, but it is better than the alternative. I must say I completely agree. We should be thankful for each day we are given and I am, but there is one element of growing older that I wish we could all forfeit.
I am not referring to wrinkles or going gray, nothing so superficial or easily remedied. The loss of loved ones is the undeniably worst part of clicking past another year on the calendar.
When I was a young girl I never had to think much about death. Of course, there were family members that passed on when I was a child, but youth is a blessed protector. Most children know that it is a finality, but due to age they are much more capable of allowing themselves to be distracted from it. Adults are not afforded that luxury.
We can probably all remember the first death that occurred in our families that made us actually stop and realize life is far too short.
I was just a small girl, probably in Kindergarten, when my first grandparent died. My Papaw Manley lost his fight with cancer at the young age of 60. I do not consider that to be an “old” age. He was a pipe smoking man with a crooked finger and a hidden train room and though I lost him as a child I still miss him.
The older I get the more I see the people of my life slowly disappearing. They do not have to be family for their deaths to make an impact. I have watched members of my church, who have been a constant vision for me on Sunday mornings since I was a child, pass away. Their absence leaving a visible void on the pew.
Looking back at my old high school yearbooks I can scan the faces looking back at me in black and white and sadly pick out those who have left this world far too young.
There is comfort in familiarity, a blessed peace in a steady constant. Growing up you come to expect to see certain faces when you go to the family dinners or gatherings and when those faces begin to disappear you realize how fragile life truly is. In some cases you may not see a person very often, but you know that they are still well, still a part of your life.
Our loved ones, the faces of our lives, piece together much like a puzzle or a beautiful quilt. Everyone has their spot and when that spot becomes empty, no one can take their place, it was made uniquely for them. Granted some leave a greater void than others, but that void is still there.
My grandfather, my mother’s biological father, is dying. Due to life and circumstance I have never really known him other than a few visits as a child and of course through reports and stories seeping through the grapevine.
He lives in Louisiana and has my entire life. From what little I know of him he is a veteran of the Air Force where he had served as a pilot for many years. I have always known he was there and I guess to a point that knowledge brought a small bit of comfort, most notably since my other two grandfathers have already gone to be with the Lord.
Though he has not been a predominant piece of my life I know that his absence will definitely be felt. That piece of my life puzzle will be vacant and though we were not afforded the endearing memories of a normal grandfather / granddaughter relationship I know that no one else will be able to fill that spot.
We should all make a determined effort to enjoy the time we are given and use it wisely. Only God knows when our name will be called and so we should treat each day as a new opportunity to show those who are important to us how much they truly mean. Our presence impacts those around us more than we ever realize and once we are gone that is all our loved ones have…make it count.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2