Sacred Moment

sacred momentI had the privelege and honor to pray for a woman just before she died yesterday.  It was a beautiful, sacred time!

We often think of sacred moments as birth, salvation, baptism, membership, wedding and births; but our culture chooses to not think about the fact of our imminent demise as something beautiful anymore.  In fact, most of our culture has almost no connection with it at all.  That’s what happens to people in hospitals and nursing homes with “professionals” around them.  No longer is it even considered something that children should witness, let alone have a visceral understanding of.  I am told that children aren’t able to deal with it, but what I have found is that if they don’t have to deal with it as a child, they don’t see it as normal, and are unable (or unwilling) to deal with it in a healthy manner as adults.  100% seems like normal to me.

Death happens.  Life’s breath slips slowly, yet suddenly away.

In the midst of reflecting on this (now normal for me) event, a saleswoman commented how sad that must have been.  My response was that death is never sad – a life lived well leads to a victorious death, a life lived poorly is sad – death is just the statement that you have finished the race.  How we run that race is what is happy or sad.

There is something sacred about a child’s birth.  Awe-inspiring, moving and meaningful.  The breath of life enters their nostrils, and we are introduced to this person that we love already – before we know them.

There is something sacred about a person’s death too.  Awe-inspiring, moving and meaningful.  The breath of life leaves their body, and we love the person that we have known.

Don’t rob yourself of the sacred moment of a loved one’s passing.  Embrace them through the entirety of life; as you have embraced the race, embrace the finish line!

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – St. Paul  (2 Timothy 4:6-8, NIV)

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A Handcrafted Life

father and son

 

My second son, Caleb, wanted to spend every moment I was in my woodshop with me.  He was constantly looking for something that he could bang with a hammer, cut with a saw or tighten with a screwdriver.  On the one hand – nothing is more gratifying to a dad than a son wanting to be like him.  On the other hand, nothing is more frustrating than constantly having to tell your four year old that he just isn’t big enough to hit, cut or screw whatever it is he was attempting.  

Solution: I got him a cut-off 2×6 and pounded a bunch of large-headed nails into it about 1/3 of the way in.  He then gleefully pounded away at the nails.  This was a short-lived success.  That’s when I decided that he needed a workbench of his own.  Under the guise of seeing how big he was getting, I measured the height of his hipbone, his reach and his spread.

I built him a workbench that was as deep as he could reach easily, as wide as his spread and as high as his hipbone.  We then outfitted the workbench with a pegboard back, some hanging baskets for tool storage, basic tools and his very own nail apron.  He was ecstatic!!  So was my wife…until he started banging away in the playroom  🙂

Caleb’s bench fits him.  It is a horrible workbench for me, but for him – it is exactly what he needed.

Life is a lot like that workbench.  When we try to make ours look like someone else’s, we are constantly frustrated, inefficient and ineffective.  When we build a life that fits us though…it fits, it just fits.  

God knows you and every little detail about you.  He knows how far you can reach and what kind of tools to put on your pegboard.  Stop fighting his handcrafted fit for your life, and let him – the Master Craftsman, build you a life that fits.  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

 

Waste Not

English: A picture of compost soil

English: A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life cycles.  Birth, growth, maturity, fruitfulness, senescence, death, decay.  These are normally seen as joy followed by mourning.  Who doesn’t celebrate with that first green shoot poking through the soil, or the anticipation of a strong, young plant that is beginning to bud?  Not to mention the joy and enjoyment of fruitfulness – the point of the plant (as many would see it).   Likewise, there is always a sense of loss as a specific plant has finished yielding its fruit, and begins to wilt and fall to the ground and die.

The gardener, however, sees things a little bit differently.  That single plant was a part of something far greater, far older and far more significant.  The gardener knows that the compost they lovingly put in the garden prior to transplanting the young, vibrant plant came from other plants and fruit that had lived, grown and died – only to give new life to the next generation.  I guess a gardener who relies upon petroleum based fertilizers, and seed packets purchased from a local grocery/hardware/home improvement center – has little visceral understanding of this truth; but if you save your own seeds from the previous generation, and keep an active compost pile from all the “waste” from your garden and kitchen, you know that life lives on.

Nothing is more healthy and life-giving than composted life.  No purchased seed packet enables you to hand-select the best of the best of each generations’ fruitfulness to pass on to the next.  Nothing supplies the needs of the young like the “waste” of the old.

Plants live and die, and in their death – they give new life to those that follow them.  You can do the same.  Honor those who have gone before, listen to the stories of their successes and failures and learn from their best and brightest moments – as well as their lessons learned the hard way.  Build into the generations that are coming along behind you, help them out as they are getting started.  Your trash might just be their treasure.

If a garden teaches you anything, it should be that nothing is wasted, nothing is useless.  All life is life-giving.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (-Jesus, John 12:24 NIV)