A Short Life


Off of the main road that my neighborhood sits behind, is a large funeral home about two miles south of us. It’s a beautiful building with a chandelier that catches your eye as you drive by; as if in an attempt to mask the ugliness that it holds within.

It’s known around here as one of the best locations for viewings and funerals because of its size, accessibility, and appearance. Many times you will see cars parked all along the road, overflowing from the parking lot. Between the bright lights that reflect onto the street and the large number of people gathering inside, the building appears to be filled with life; painfully ironic considering the source that has brought them together in the first place: death.

As I drove up this road a few nights ago, I could see police car lights flashing ahead in the distance, cautioning the oncoming traffic to slow down. I knew that another viewing must be taking place, so I let off the gas pedal as I began to pass car after car parked along the road, stretching at least a quarter of a mile past the funeral home. Not only was the main parking lot full, but the additional parking across the street had been filled as well. As I drove past the funeral home, I saw a long line of people extending out the front door, around the side of the building, and back towards the parking lot. Hundreds of people stood in line to view their lost loved one; people of all ages, many young and many old.

My first thought: someone died way too young.

A wave of pain ripped through me as I had an immediate flash back to that cold night, four years ago in my home town, when I watched hundreds of people wait in line to pay their respects to the parents and siblings of my life-long best friend. It took hours to filter through all the people who had been touched by Katelynn’s life, because she was that kind of person; impactful, unforgettable.

I remember feeling numb; not even able to cry. I was confused at the lack of outward emotion that my body refused to release and I felt trapped inside, wanting desperately to get out. I was in shock, yet terribly aware of the reality of the situation.

There was nothing I could do. No words I could say. I knew that this is how life works on earth; we all live and die and get no say as to who and when death will strike.

Instead of giving a toast at Katelynn’s wedding, I found myself giving a eulogy at her funeral.

As I reflected over her life, short as it was, I was filled with joy as I thought of how purposefully she lived her life. She loved the Lord and loved others, and her time was well spent.

In the midst of my grieving, I began to understand how important it is that we live our lives intentionally, using every moment we are given. I was reminded of how important relationships are in life; how family and friends are such a valuable gift that should not be taken for granted.

I wanted everyone that I loved to know how I felt about them; how much they meant to me. I vowed to myself that I would treasure my friendships with those that were in my life as best as I could.

And more than ever before, I wanted people to know that God is real. That God was and is still good. And that God desperately cares for us and wants our love and devotion.

In my raw sorrow, I knew that the sun would rise again. I knew God was still just and in control. Joy washed over me as I thought about Katelynn now in the presence of God. Free from pain, sadness, and imperfection. I knew I would see her again soon because she loved Jesus Christ so deeply and had made Him her personal savior.

It was not just this life changing situation that planted a sense of urgency within my heart. It had begun long ago when I accept Christ into my heart and allowed him to change everything. But this experience was a wake up call to me; a living nightmare that reminded me what life is all about.

It reminded me that life is short and our days are numbered. It reminded me that we were created for a purpose and meant to live with an outward focus, not just an inward one.

I couldn’t ignore the occurrence of death and the reality that it can come at any age. I realized that if I truly love my friends like I say I do, why would I not share with them the joy and the love that I have found; one that I do not deserve and did not earn? Why would I not share the truth with them when it actually is a matter of life or death?

As I drove away from the funeral home a few nights ago and turned into my neighborhood, I was reminded once again that God has a purpose for each day that he gives me on earth.

I took a deep breath as I accepted, once again, the commission God has given me as His child: to make His name known.

I write this post with the same urgency on my heart that I write with in every “seed of truth.” I write with sincerity and I write with purpose. I know that for every reader who dismisses it and skips over it, there is one who reads and truly hears. Because the reality is, life is short and we have the chance each day to choose how we will spend our time, and where we will spend eternity.