Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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.
Thankful for


Lynilu said...

So hard for Raymond and the rest of his family. I'll certainly add a word in my prayers. :)

Corey said...

I'm so sorry for you and your friend and his family. I'll definitely say a prayer for comfort for you all.

Gin said...

Oh, Cheryl, this is just so sad. I will say a prayer. (But a beautiful post anyway.)

Monogram Queen said...

My Prayers for Peace for poor Raymond and Blessings upon you all Cheryl. I am so sorry for the loss of that boy's Mother.
A sobering reminder of how we should all live as if it's our last day on Earth and how things really CAN change.... in the twinkling of an eye.

Cheryl Wray said...

Lynilu--Thank you so much for your sweet prayers.

Corey--Thank you for your prayers too.

Gin--It really is very sad. I just talked to Raymond and got more details and it all just made me cry.

Queen--Thank you for your sweet prayers too. It really is very sobering. It makes you realize how we should treasure each moment.

camport said...

I wonder sometimes if it would be better to go all of the sudden or to have time, like with cancer.

You just never know, no one does, how it's going to happen. That's why I am willing to risk friendships and pride and step out on a limb to share my faith. In the end, repentence and faith is all that matters. How we live our life, the money we have in the bank, how nice we are, how much we give to charity...while all good things, don't count for much when standing before the Almighty Judge. He gave us an out. He gave us payment for our sins. All we have to do is accept it.

Just like a tragedy brings out the best in people, it tends to make people think about their own mortality.

I am so glad that you have the comfort of knowing your friends eternal fate. Praying for her son and the battles he'll have to face in life without his mom.


Auburn Kat said...

I hate hearing things like this. It's so sad for everyone invovled.

Loosing a mother whether it's from a long-term illness or something sudden is a very difficult thing to deal with. Unfortunately, I lost my mother and I try my hardest to remember how thankful I am for each day that I'm here and be thankful for my wonderful family and friends. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the frustrations of everyday life, that's when I have to be thankful the most.

Adrienne said...

What a beautiful post! I will keep everyone in my prayers!

Cheryl Wray said...

Chrissy--Thank you for your beautiful comment. You are right--oftentimes the loss of someone in a tragedy is the only thing that gets people to think about their mortality. It's sad that sometimes it takes that to "set people straight," but I know that God can use tragedies to bring people closer to Him. Freddie had a strong faith and I know that her love of Christ has her with Him today. (and Thank you for the prayers!)

Kat--I can only imagine how hard it must be to lose a mother. I hate that you've had to go through that. Mothers are so special for so many reasons, and it must be so hard not to have yours. I'm really praying that Raymond will make it through this hard time; it will be hard, but he does have a really good support system.

Adrienne--Thanks for the prayers. It's just so sad.

Jeff said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. I know you and your family will be there for Raymond for anything he needs. You will all be in my prayers. Take care of each other.

Faye said...

Cheryl, I'm so very sad for Raymond and all Freddie's family and friends. It's just such a staggering loss and it will take time to adjust to having her gone.
My son was taken in a car accident 2 years ago and my heart just hurts when I hear that someone has to go thru the same shock as we did. Yes, it makes us treasure each moment..makes us realize what is truly important in life...and with Thanksgiving coming up, it's good to pause in our hectic life and remember the blessings we have.
My prayer for Raymond is that God hold him close to His heart during this profoundly sad time.

origamibandit said...

I'll say a prayer for Raymond too.