This isn't a philosophical post by any means, I've just been lost in thought lately and struck by one of those quotes I feel like I can hear or say but I don't digest:
"You can't judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes."
I'm thirty now. How that happened I'm not sure, but it feels like a lot of life has been both lived and lost in three decades. It's now that I am a mom of two, married, facing life's beautiful and challenging realities that the depth of events is more impactful.
In the last year, I have been witness to four things that have forever changed my heart and my view of the stranger that stands next to me, the driver ahead of me, and/or the ones I hug & say I love you to.
One of my dearest and most cherished friends lost her sister (also her best friend) in a tragic accident in Yosemite. Roe & Haley were inseparable. As my roommate in college for three years, Haley spent more time with us than most of the friends we had on campus. They were virtually inseparable and many of my funniest and special moments include Haley right beside us. Four days before my second son was born, I received the news that Haley was now an angel.
I fell to the floor in disbelief and it took three long minutes before I found myself sobbing.
I wanted to RUN to Roe but I couldn't go anywhere.
I welcomed life while she said goodbye.
7/31/12 will be the one year anniversary of heaven receiving one of the most beautiful angels I will ever know.
Two months after my second son's birth, my aunt, a mother to three beautiful daughters under 21, lost her life.
She was a teacher to thousands that changed lives forever.
I looked at my cousins, 14-16-21, & I wondered: how were they going to do it?
I questioned how they were seemingly handling the grief so well.
The loss of her life was surreal for me.
I seemed to process both Aunt Jean and Haley at one memorial.
Two families I love would now forever be changed.
Through all of that loss, I was celebrating this beautiful baby boy who had come in and completed our family. I looked at him and cherished him. He was tiny, perfect, & so loved.
I saw him and how fragile life is.
I looked at him and saw every joy & every fear, every excitement & every anxiety.
This little boy was innocent, untouched by the world and I wanted to put him in his crib forever.
"Don't go anywhere, sweet boy. Stay here and I will make sure no harm touches you."
Most recently, my husband's family suffered an unbelievable loss as his 16 year old cousin was murdered. She went to get a soda and had no idea she would never go home.
A young Christian, star athlete, and member of the FFA, her impact on a small 700 population community rocked the state of Oklahoma.
She left behind a mother, father, sister & brother.
Yesterday, that sweet family from Oklahoma was visiting us in California.
While we walked with them on the beaches, I stared at all of the Summer vacationers that walked by. I looked at our family as people brushed passed them and was struck,
"They have no idea what kind of loss these people carry with them. If they knew, would it change how they looked at them?"
It made me look at everyone, lost in my own world of noise cancelling waves, I stared at people wondering,
"what is your story? what have you celebrated and what have you survived?"
I brush past life daily getting lost in the mundane or the struggles forgetting to soak in the people instead of the stuff, forgetting to put aside exhaustion and routine for the spontaneous. Forgetting.
I wish I could say I would forever be changed by this moment of clarity but I know, I'll slip back into ME thinking about what's hurting and challenging ME, what do I need, what do I want, what am I hurting over instead of looking at the hearts of my neighbors, strangers, family & friends.
This world is a broken one.
His heaven is a perfect one.
I just want to love on the journey HOME.