July 07, 2008
A Walk Thru The Park
Confucious once said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.”
I'm no expert at life, I'm just starting out, but even someone young can see that life is so beautifully and devastatingly short. I was reflecting on this a few days ago while taking my grandmother out for a walk in the park.
She's in her eighties now and seems very content with life... even though she has been through some serious griefs and frustrations. She lost a son to a heart condition when he was in his early thirties and she lost her husband to complications from strokes. Her sister passed away, she now has diabetes and osteoporosis, and all her closest friends have died.
And as we walked and talked together I remember being amazed at how in only eighty-some years a whole life could be lived. How many other lives did hers touch? How is it that she was able to live through such terrible loss? How can she be so close to the end of life and not be afraid?
She listened to my questions and took time to think about how to answer them. And when we got to the questions of suffering and death she smiled and said that God was her strength and that she leaned on Him when life was too much. She has often told me that life can be terribly lonely if we only look at our own experiences and " know-how" to make it through. She said that friends and family can't always be there for you and that there has to be a source of strength you can cling to.
I love my grandmother and I know she won't be around forever. That's a hard realization for me. But she was wise in not trying to sugar coat reality. It doesn't matter what life throws at you... good, bad, terrible, wonderful... in the end we all end up the same. And we can find temporary security and comfort in our careers, or our friends, or our health, or in entertainment but all that fades away. What are you left with when those things aren't around to distract you?
There's a verse in the Bible that says that the life of every man/woman is like that of the wild flowers in the fields... here today and gone tomorrow. We are all so fragile. And once we're gone only people who were close to us will remember us. But once they're gone... the memory of who we were goes with them. So for me... I have found solace in knowing God and living for Him because when I die, and everyone who ever knew me dies, He will still exist. God will remember me... and he promises to never leave me... not even when this life ends.
"For, All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall..." I Peter 1:24