When the Road Meets the Gravel
As we come upon the arrival of Thanksgiving once again this year, I was reminded of how fragile--and how very, very precious--life is when I received an early-morning phone call today. It was from one of my favorite teenagers in the whole wide world (you've seen him on my blog several times; he is one of my Alabama football game-watching buddies and one of McKenna's best friends) telling me that his mother passed away last night.
His mother, Freddie, was a dear friend from church and, of course, I am extremely saddened (and shocked, since it was an out-of-the-blue heart attack that took her). I know, though, that God is taking care of her and I'm not grieved over how she is doing now. I am, though, grieving over Raymond's loss of a mother.
This is his senior year of high school, and now she won't see him graduate.
She was the rock in his life, since he has a troubled father, and now I'm saddened that she is not there to help him navigate through those rough times.
I am grieving because it is so sad, on so many, many levels, for Raymond and his family.
I am also grieving because it makes me stop and see how quickly--how in a blink-of-the-eye--things can change so drastically. How you, or I, or a parent, or a child, or a friend, can be gone so quickly.
And that makes me grieve, because I realize that I don't always live everyday like it could be the last day. I need to remember that every. single. day is a gift. A blessed gift.
But, more than anything, I am challenged.
I am challenged because these moments--these times when...
the road meets the gravel,
the bug hits the windshield,
the rain falls on a clear day,
the punch comes to the mouth,
the really, really, really bad happens--
are those times that I...and we, as a community...can be at our best.
These really bad moments bring out, irrevocably, the best in us. Or, at least they do in my neck of the woods.
People make casseroles. People offer their support. People make phone calls. People pray.
I tell Raymond that we are here "no matter what," and I absolutely mean it.
It's sad, though, that sometimes it takes the worst to bring out the best. And I absolutely don't think it should.
So, on this day before the day before Thanksgiving...
I am praying for my friend Raymond and his family (if you are the praying kind, I'd love it if you would also);
I am promising to live today (and tomorrow, and the next) like I may not be given the next;
and I am doing everything I can to reach out and be the sort of friend that I know I'm supposed to be.
And I am thankful.
So very thankful.