My third grade teacher who later became a family friend was a tough sell on most things. He was old school. Stern, stuck in his ways, an older man, a divorcee. He was also passionate about teaching english in other countries and fascinated with culture. He was also kind if you broke through the initial front he put up.
There are so many things this man taught me. He was an endless encourager in my high school years. I kept every birthday card and note he ever sent. While I didn’t fully appreciate it all until he passed away, I am so thankful for his truth and wisdom. In saying that, the one quote he’d always be willing to share in his especially gruff voice when I complained or was unsure of something was, “Lisa, Nike Commercial.”
Which simply meant, “Just do it!” As a kid, it sounded bossy and uncaring. As an adult, it seems like simple, sound advice.
Just. Do. It.
Yesterday was a randomly hard day. I woke up to find out that a pastor friend of ours had passed away unexpectedly the night before. While tragic on it’s own, the story seemed to deliver a heavier blow considering he had 3 kids and his wife had passed away 5 years from a random bout of lung cancer. Never smoked a day in her life.
They were the couple that weren’t quite your parents age, but were old enough to watch from a distance as newlyweds. They loved one another. Loved life. Loved to laugh. They were the true blue meaning of what it means to be a lover of Jesus. They loved others selflessly. Using their opportunities to do good.
And they are now both gone.
It seems unfair. For those kids. For those who knew them. They were the ‘good ones.’ The last memory I have of them is sitting together on an outdoor patio eating Belgian waffles in Lake Arrowhead with a group of us that were up there for a youth camp. They would joke and he would always push the limits with regards to jokes about how much he loved his wife. 🙂 We’d all laugh. He was one of the most real people I’ve met.
The contrast of my day was getting to go the hospital where my good friend and her husband are celebrating their son being released from the NICU and getting to take him home. I got to hold that baby boy and cradle his little head as we talked. I had major flash backs to when Jack was that little in the NICU and it made me realize how polarizing life can be.
In a moment I went from grieving a soul lost to rejoicing new life.
A while after I got home, I got a phone call from my mom letting me know that a young woman I use to babysit (that means I’m getting old) had also passed away. Two people I knew personally were gone within one day.
It got me thinking how some of my days with the boys can be looooong, but for others the days passed too quickly. In an instant, life shifts. We gain; we lose.
My day was filled with feelings of thankfulness coupled with questions of why. How could our days be so opposite in emotion?
So often in life, we wait for the perfect moment. To have enough money saved. To hold off on joy or happiness because we’re in limbo. To wait for the next season to come around to change how we’re feeling.
Our friend and his wife, when they knew her days were numbered, they went and traveled. They went everywhere. I’m sure even that wasn’t enough time, but they didn’t wait. They didn’t hold off. They just did it. Enjoyed the time together. Grieved in pieces of their day, but were focused on the quality of the time, not the quantity, although I’m sure both desired more of it.
Looking back in my life, how we’re conditioned to get to the next season, the next goal, the next accomplishment…those are all noteworthy notions, but if we actually stopped and rested, would we be so concerned with the next thing? Or would we find that rest is actually an active action.
It’s rest that allows us to throw off the holds we have on our lives, in order to focus on those that hold our hearts.
We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face, but are we actually creating that space in our lives? My friend and fellow blogger, has a great way of reminding herself daily of this very concept when it comes to her kids days. The number of days our lives hold are precious. Some of us will never get the prep time when it comes to our “time’s up!” moment.
There is a lyric I love in the Lady Antebellum song “Heart of the World” that says, “Time is a thief I would rob.” Every day I would love to rob time. Time in my heart and mind that I let pass by too quickly, too hastily focused on what should get done or needed to be, rather than just…being.
Let’s stop looking back. Let’s stop waiting on life to start. It’s happening now.
In the words of an old friend, “Nike Commercial friends.”