Our “summer roadtrip” at church is taking us through the book of Phillipians, written by Paul to a bunch of Christians in Phillipi. In case you didn’t know, Paul is literally in chains for Christ while he wrote this letter, filled with finding joy in your life as a Christ follower. As our pastor puts it, “Joy is Holy Optimism that enables me to live, serve, and reflect Jesus in positive and productive ways… no matter the circumstances.”
I’d say being chained to a Roman guard in a dungeon with death a very real possibilty pretty much sums up a bad day at the office.
But Paul preaches joyously.
This week, we covered the insanely fun topic of DEATH. *yay* (if you don’t not the sarcasm, there might be something wrong with you. I’m just sayin’…)
Now, death isn’t something most people like to talk about for obvious reasons, but it’s something we are all going to face one day, like it or not. Birth and Death. You can’t hide. Oh, and taxes. I don’t recommend hiding from taxes.
Most likely, it won’t be your own death that effects you the most. Death can be a life changing for those left behind; left to try to answer questions they may not have gotten in life. Left to pick up the pieces emotionally, financially, and physically. Left to cope. Left to live.
I once knew this girl in high school. Ok, she was my best friend (one of 2). Since high school, we went our separate ways. Most recently, she lived in The City. I lived in The ‘Burbs. I was kissing my kids good night at 7pm, and she was starting her bartending shift at a *very* popular restaurant. I was in bed by 9pm on Friday nights, and she was putting on lip gloss to go out (actually, knowing her, it was probably chapstick). Unbeknownst to me, she battled for 14-months with Melanoma and passed in March.
The pain I feel (still) runs deep. She was just a few months older than me. She was the first of my friends to die. Her bubbly spirit didn’t deserve to be in pain for the last months of her life. I thought my insides would explode from the sheer force of hurt.
And then I went to church. The Worship Team sang a song that, still to this day, makes me cry. Not because my friend is no longer with us. Not because I still wonder if she accepted Christ in the years we were apart. Not because she left behind her family. Not because we are left to cope.
I cry because of the amazing grace that God has given to those hurting. She doesn’t hurt anymore. She is FREE.
Be Free. Live with Holy Optimism. Dance.