My dad was born 60 years ago this past Sunday.
Andrew's dad was born 50 years ago this past Tuesday.
My brother died 15 years ago this past Thursday.
I was baptized 10 years ago today.
I'm not usually one to be overly dramatic for the sake of emotional ploys, but please indulge me while I sink my teeth into these momentous anniversaries.
I started the week out celebrating life. Not just my dad's life, or Andrew's dad's life, and the milestones they have reached, but moreso the life they still have yet to lead. As I imagine life with my children growing up, I imagine both grandfathers (as well as Andrew's stepdad, for the record, who will turn 50 in December) being around teaching my sons and daughters new jokes, tricks and sports moves. I see the life the dads haven't even experienced yet, as grandparents.
So as the week kicked off, I was thinking very positively about life and the longevity of it. But Thursday came, without warning, and I did the math to realize it has been FIF-TEEN years since my brother passed away. I had to face the reality of how short and unpredictable life is all over again. But also, how tragicly unfair it is. I've been through more than half of my life without an older brother. I honestly can't even imagine life with him at this point, because it was such a short part of my memory (and getting even shorter). Author J.K. Rowling stated recently in an interview that she wished her mother was around to read the Harry Potter books, but they would not be what they were if she hadn't passed away. And I'm left feeling the same about my own life. It truly would not have been the same if I hadn't experienced this loss at such a young age, but I know Andy would have made life that much more vibrant.
and in the midst of my joy and grief, I almost completely overlooked the moment I celebrated new, abundant, life. The moment I decided to give all my hopes, joy, expecations, fear, grief, pain, stress, and false courage to the ultimate source of life. On October 1, 2000, I publicly declared through baptism that I had indeed found this new life, and identified myself with the Creator of life, by demonstrating my own death to my former life, acceptance of the new life given to me Jesus and receiving of eternal life by the one who defeated death.
So as I contemplate life and all that it entails - the little moments and the big occasions - I must stop and be grateful for the God who not only gave me this life, but gets me through it. Not only the God who helps me survive this life, but enables me to thrive (John 10:10) in it. All these momentous occasions really just serve as a reminder that there is a God who loves us and gave Himself up for us. So we can celebrate birthdays and babies and joy. But also so we can survive grief and heartache and pain with strength that seems supernatural (because it is). The giver of life, the source of life, the sustainer of life. He's the one I celebrate this week.