My pulmonary embolism in March triggered for me a tumbling of my idealized image of the way I thought my life would go. Here at the end of June, I'm still reshaping myself, learning to adjust to the new me, accepting limitations and yet pushing for more freedom. In the process, I've learned a few things.
I've learned that a life is fullest when I fully love the people around me. No matter how long I live, whether that is another day, a year, or longer, I find significance in the people who I stop to love along the way. That's what gives my life meaning. I have always communicated to my children that love is best experienced in the verb sense, and I am seeing those seeds bear fruit now.
What does a life well loved look like? To me, it looks like this:
- Listen to others. What does someone care about? What does someone worry about? Listen to that person share his life.
- Don't judge. That's a toughie sometimes. As always, Jesus said it best, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" Matthew 7:1 NIV. Jesus didn't say that I was not to judge unless the person was gay. Jesus didn't say I was not to judge unless the person was Muslim. Jesus didn't say I was not to judge unless the person was of a different political party. And Jesus didn't say that I was not to judge unless the person was different from me. Ever.
- Serve others. Serve even if I don't necessarily feel like it. That is the "verb" part of loving. Service, by the way, I believe begins in the home, but it doesn't end there. God gives us many opportunities to serve if we will only observe. Our families, our neighbors, our community, and our church are opportunities. We weren't meant to live in isolation; rather, we were meant to live and love in community.
- Accept we can't do it all, and sometimes we need help as well. Beat back pride and allow yourself to be served as well when the time comes.
- Rest in Christ. Read your bible. Pray. By doing so, you will find hope, strength, and encouragement.
I am continuing to mend. Some days are better than others, but I am so thankful to have progressed as well as I have. I pray that I will continue to heal, but if I do not or if things go the other direction in my healing, I pray I will be able to say with all honesty, "Not my will, but Yours be done."
This past weekend, I climbed the St. Augustine Lighthouse. It's one of my husband's and my favorite places to go. It was a challenge. My lungs and legs are not yet fully healed, and they may never fully recover, but I made it up 215 steps and took in the absolutely beautiful view that is St. Augustine. Below me I spied the Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler College, and of course, the Atlantic Ocean. It was a beautiful sight. Such is the Christian journey. It is a climb. At times it is tiring. Often it is painful. In the end, though, all the pain and fear slips away in sight of the Perfection that is before us.
Enjoy the journey, for however long it lasts. And remember along the way, to love fully those whom God places in your path.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 4: 7-8