[last.breath]

It hits hard.

That life is fragile. Our days are numbered.

I’m sitting in the cry room at the back of church with three little cousins with pins on their shirts.

“This is Nancy,” the red-headed boy says as he touches the picture-pin, “she died. She’s up there,” he points at the front of the church where lines of people are standing, waiting, “but she’s not really there.”

Eighteen. Black ice. A Sunday morning. She’s gone.

A little sister, big enough to know something is wrong, but small enough to not understand, looks at me. “Tomorrow Nancy will wake up.”

My heart crunches.

“Nancy gets a crown,” the tiny girl explains, “a pretty crown from Jesus.”

Her story is mixing. What she wants. What she’s learned. How does one explain death to a child?

And my heart is breaking.

But there are people who are hearing the gospel who might never have heard. People sharing about the joy that one eighteen year old girl poured into life.

“She had her Bible in every room,” the words slip out, “five minutes here, five minutes there- she read and breathed life.”

And the challenge stands. Where is the Word of God in my life?

“It doesn’t look like her,” I whisper to my husband, staring at the body, “I’m not sure why…” Then I look at the screen, where all the photos are flashing and I see it. She smiled. All the time. Her joyful spirit shining through. And in death she wears no expression.

And another challenge stands. Is my spirit showing through? Am I pouring out joy?

Oh, God, you know. The number of our days may come as a surprise to us- but it is not to you. Only you know the hours I have left. The hours we each have left. Teach us to live them faithfully. Teach us to live them fully. Teach us to live them joyfully. 

Teach us to

live.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

 

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