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Joy and Pain

Romans 12.12Over the last few weeks we have had a couple of weddings, two graduations (one more tomorrow), two birthdays, a funeral, and the tragic death of a student who attended the high school where I volunteer. There has been joy and pain, celebration and mourning, and in the background of it all, the continuous job search for Mr. K who has been out of a job for 5 months now. The bigger things put the smaller things into perspective. Death has a way of doing that – making our thoughts come to a full stop. We ask each other, “Are you okay?” feeling our emotional parts as if we had a bad fall. “Is anything broken? Can you move forward?”

People often think about God when bad things happen. It is right to think about God when people die because He is the Creator and we wonder what happens to His creatures when there is no more breath. We think about the fragility of life, at least I do. I feel like we are held together with bubblegum and duct tape. “Are you okay?”

We live through brokenness and our bodies survive abuse, but a delicate skull can get crushed, and a heart can stop beating suddenly. Our next breath may be our last without preparation or notice. What is important? What should we focus on? Life goes on whether we want it to or not. Children need to be fed, the trash needs to be gathered and put on the curb, and love needs to be shared. “Are you okay?”

My 90 year old mom has seen her share of the joy and pain of life. I said to her how tragic it is when young people die and she gently disagreed with me. “Young or old, death is death,” she said. “A young person is spared the pain of living in this world, and that is good,” she explained. “An older person has enjoyed a long life, and that is good.”

We mourn our loved ones and we ask, “Are you okay?” Then we check the bubblegum and duct tape and take a deep breath.

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