Note: I actually wrote this several years ago, but the interactions on the blog, some comments in class, and a personal encounter prompted me to share it here.
I strained to hear his voice over the din of traffic a few feet behind him. But, in reality, I already knew what he was saying, because I have heard ministers of various denominations say it before. We were down to the things that have to be said when there is nothing else left to be said. While a small group looked on, we buried Michael Saturday in the last row of the cemetery.
In a high school class that included an Olympic gold medallist and number one NBA draft choice, a Miss USA, and two long-time NFL players, Michael was the only “sure thing” I knew. Admired by every girl under five-foot-five, a polished communicator at seventeen, a scholar-athlete with a ready laugh, the world unfolded before him thirty years ago. He was headed to Notre Dame to make his mark and to follow his destiny. All of us who knew him were aware that great success was inevitable.
Because this was so clear to us, we spent that last year of high school consumed with jealousy. My buddy and I made it our mission to make sure that Michael remained humble, so we began referring to him as “Marvelous Mike,” a moniker that remained in people’s memories even as we said goodbye this weekend. We devised a series of glamorous dates that could be had with Michael and advertised ourselves as “Marvelous Mike’s Dating Service.” We set as our goal to embarrass Michael in ways that would keep him within reach of our mortality.
I moved on with my life, but my buddy turned out to be Michael’s most trusted friend through the years. Each was best man in the other’s wedding, and Ed made sure to keep close ties with Michael wherever he went.
Michael had many successes and some failures as well. The scorebook is perhaps not all that important to the story. He was about to start a great opportunity when they found him in his L. A. apartment, the victim of a heart attack. I do not know the whole story of his life, and I have no need to. I sensed a trace of sadness about it that pervaded the conversations of those more intimately acquainted with the details.
In fact, I felt welcome in the conversations because the days we spent together were actually days in his life pervaded with laughter. I could remember triple dating with Michael and his twin brother in a Volkswagen beetle (what were we thinking?). I recall flying across the grounds of an elementary school in that same Bug, and winning the city soccer championship. I was a co-conspirator in a boondoggle that allowed him to go on a French club trip, even though the required “two years of French” he had taken were in first and second grade. The hardest I ever saw Michael laugh was when I accidentally won a competition on that trip, despite the fact that I had answered the multiple choice test randomly before I ever heard the questions.
In some sense that accidental success characterizes my life. Who knew that I would find Christ and my wife within a year of each other, and that both would shape the track of my entire life? I have had heartache, but the blessings I have experienced have been so overwhelming as to defy logic.
As I listened this weekend, I sensed that the same could not be said about Michael. He had surely had blessings, but his search for peace was ongoing. It turned out that success and happiness in this life are never guaranteed.
Before I left the cemetery, I made sure that I had said “I love you” to two people who should have heard it long ago. And I said an “I’m sorry” that was almost thirty years overdue.
But there was nothing left to say to Michael. I could not tell him that the only “sure things” are on the other side of death, of a hope both sure and secure. I could not tell him that trials come with a purpose, to draw us toward the only One who guarantees real success. I could not even tell him that I loved him.
As I walked away into a gray November afternoon, the only thing I could say was goodbye to a sure thing.
Categories: Bottom Line Ethics
I occasionally think to myself how fortunate I have been in my life. I have been blessed with many talents, great friends and family, and nothing really bad or tragic has ever occured to me. This sometimes scares me. I hope that I can find the courage to live for a greater purpose without having some triggering event. It seems like I am just setting myself up for something terrible to happen so that I will snap out of it and do the things God wants from me. I better realize soon that nothing is for certain.
This discussion resounds with me because as I read this I’m thinking about a girl who went to church with me all my life and I just found out that this today that she was involved in a tragic car accident early this morning. She is now lying in the hospital barely alive and brain dead. Her family is going through the excrutiating process of taking her off life support and even though I wasn’t close to her my heart is heavy for her and her family.
It is astonding how much we take for granted in our lives. Like Austin, I’ve been fortunate in my life with friends, family, talents and opportunities. Yet, only when unthinkable things happen to those around us do we stop to realize how much we really are blessed. I stress out so much over silly things like school tests or scheduling when really I need to make sure and focus on what’s really important in life. Nothing is for certain and I need to make sure my priorities reflect the values that I really see as important. None of us is immoral and none of us will live forever so we need to appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives and live each day to the fullest.
This post really spoke to me because it had only been a few hours since I had read the following from one of my favorite books:
“When you waste a moment, you have killed it in a sense, squandering an irreplaceable opportunity. But when you use the moment properly, filling it with purpose and productivity, it lives on forever.”
Not only did this story connect the quote to a real life experience, but it further emphasized the importance of valuing friends, family, and even complete strangers. Although it sounds somewhat extreme, we never really know when will be the last time we will encounter the people we care about most. Whether it’s saying goodnight to my parents, or simply smiling at the lady behind the counter serving my coffee, my personal goal is to treat people with kindness and respect no matter what the situation may be. Like Austin, I also sometimes worry that everything has been going well for too long. I have never known a person who has not had a major setback in his/her life, so it makes it that much more important for to value the good times, embrace life’s blessings, and use these positive experiences to propel myself through future conflicts that I will encounter.
The idea that nothing is guaranteed resonates with me deeply. I think it is important to remember that, though it may seem that we have everything going for us, this moment in time is transitory – nothing lasts forever. As students in a highly regarded professional program at a world-class university, we have had many opportunities offered to us that make us stand out as candidates in the working world. However, it is important to remember to not become focused on our past accomplishments and always look towards the future. Rather than resting on our laurels, we must recall that the pursuit of excellence is a life-long journey rather than a destination.
Aaron – your post reminded me of Romans 5 (when you mentioned inevitable setback).
Because suffering is part of life that we will all encounter:
“… but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
There is hope for us. Imperfect as we are, powerless without grace, the following verses speak of a sure thing, unconditional love.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Think of who you would die for? …pretty short list I imagine. Thankfully, my Savior’s isn’t.
Austin, I agree with your post. We have been given such amazing things in life, friends, family, ability to go to college. I agree also that I hope nothing traumatic has to happen for me to appreciate all these things and even things that I don’t think about.
Nothing is certain in this life, and we are blessed to have what we do. I think I need to rely more on what God wants me to do with my life instead of what I want to do, because only this will produce rewards for eternity.
Like some of the previous comments, I also believe that I have had many blessings and opportunities, most of which I don’t truly appreciate. I do occasionally stop to realize how blessed I am when good things happen to me; however, it is usually when tragedy happens to me that I begin to appreciate my life.
Like Dr. Shaub’s story, I also lost someone close (my aunt) to me this summer. However, it wasn’t a sudden loss – she had been sick with cancer for years, always hoping that the cancer would be beat. In July, my family received a call that she had a couple of weeks to live and was leaving the hospital (hospitals aren’t the place you want your final days). My entire extended family (including me) flew that week to her house in Ohio to spend some last quality time. As sad as it might have seemed, it was actually one of the best experiences of my life – bringing out old photo albums (which provided great laughs), playing card games, and reminiscing about our favorite family memories. My aunt had been the sort of matriarch of the family, and growing up I never fathomed she would be gone.
Even though death is a sure thing, most people don’t realize it until it’s too late. As Aaron’s quote said – use the moment properly because it lasts forever. I’m so grateful I was able to realize death is a “sure thing” and say all that i wanted to my aunt. The tricky part is trying to make sure the people important to you realize how much they mean to you everyday, not just the sad times.
I was reading a book the other day and there was a verse from the Bible that fully relates to this topic:
You do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
This verse and your story demonstrate how unpredictable life can be. Individuals, including myself, believe they can follow their own plans. However, God has a much greater plan for all of us. No matter how powerful we feel or how much we think we can control our lives, none of us can guarantee ourselves another day. It is important to cherish each person in our lives for there is a reason why they are present. This verse also portrays how short life is; individuals should appreciate each day and really think about how blessed they truly are.
This post has caused me to step back and reflect on my life. I often find that I live life just going through the motions. As much as I try to not do this, I find it difficult not to. As I was reflecting, I was reminded of a quote by Dr. Heartsill Wilson. This quote was read to me at the beginning of what was just another day of football practice in the Texas heat.
â€œThis is the beginning of a new day.
I have been given this day to use as I will.
I can waste it, or use it.
I can make it a day long to be remembered for its joy, its beauty and its achievements, or it can be filled with pettiness.
What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, but I shall hold something which I have traded for it.
It may be no more than a memory, but if it is a worthy one I shall not regret the price.
I want it to be gain not loss, good not evil, success not failure.â€
I would venture to say that few, if any, members of my team remember this day or this speech like I do. This quote resonates deep within me. Although I fail to live my life by this motto, posts like this serve as reminders; reminders that each day I live is a special day.
My thoughts resonate deeply with all that has been said. Like what everyone is saying, we take life for granted so much. I hope with Austin in that I can learn to take advantage of every moment without a tragic event to awaken me.
I do not have much to add except to tell you how grateful I am to have read this from all of you. Dr. Shaub mentioned yesterday that part of gaining wisdom is to be surrounded by the right people and learning from them. I read a verse today actually which speaks to me about living life, and how the right people can help you do that. From Ecclesiastes…
“But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope…For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing.”
I think the references here to living and dieing are meant in the same sense we are using them here (i.e. not physically).The living know that they will die, so they live life to the fullest, valuing every moment. Whereas those who are alive but live like the dead, know nothing. They do not realize that they are wasting life. And being joined (living alongside) with people who realize they are alive brings hope to us. Hope that we can invest our time well, that we can leave a legacy, that we can value every moment. This is the hope that I gain when I hear thoughts like the ones on this blog. So thanks for bringing wisdom here.
As Benjamin Franklin said, â€œIn this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I’ve heard all sorts of variations of that quote. I still recall what an eye opener it was back in 7th grade when a substitute teacher told the class, â€œThe only things you HAVE to do in life are die and pay taxes.â€ It amazes me that even though everyone knows death is inevitable, we all do things that waste valuable time, myself included. If I knew the exact number of years I had left with my parents I’m sure I would not argue with them, I would find any excuse to see them every weekend, and call multiple times a week.
I have dealt with my share of death, between family members and friends. After the death of someone close to me, I can see the conscious effort I make to change my wasteful ways, but within months I am always back into my old routines. I’ve heard it said that death can be a great motivator to those who survive. I think in the future, as I make decisions, I should make more of an effort to include these â€œsure thingsâ€ in my calculations.
After reading this post, one thing that stood out was how â€œaccidental successesâ€ characterize your life. I think that is very true how random events, that hit you blindsided, can define the foundation of one’s life.
However, life is also filled with a lot of accidental failures. I think that the failures I experience in my life can be of greater value than successes. When I experience failures it opens the door for other opportunities. I am able to take a step back from my life and revaluate my goals, putting my life into a new perspective. This also relates to experiencing a death of a friend. I have experienced the death of a teammate in highschool. After his death, I really appreciated all of the great things in my life. The hardest part is to not fall back on your old ways after having such a learning experience.
This post really relates with my personal life. I have lost 3 out of 4 grandparents, multiple friends, and a future brother. Through death, I have learned about life. That all opportunities should not be wasted. We should take every chance we get, because it will more than likely not be offered again.
We are given one chance to live. I vowed that I would not let life go by without experiencing it. Attending a fine institution is where the next chapter of my life begins. I hope to travel the world: snokel in the Bahamas, watch the sunset in Rome, and ski the Alps. I hope everyone takes their own opportunities to live.
As Ryan said the part that stood out the most in this blog to me is “accidental successes”, throughout my life I have stumbled across quite a few successes that have gotten me where I am today. I definitely feel that I am blessed to have what I do and to be where I am. I cannot lie and say that I try to live each day as if it were my last, my nerdy accounting personality definitely hinders me from living carefree and spontaneously. However, I have been able to always ensure that I let the people in my life that I care about know how I feel. I strive to never hold grudges because you never know when your time with that person is up.
Reading this post really causes me to reflect on life and the purpose we have in our journey. I’ve found the last few years of life to be flying by at unbelievable speeds, and before we know it we will have moved on from A&M and graduated. I want things to slow down and live this time in our lives more deeply because it will leave us quickly. I find that being driven and ambitious tends to create a sense of constant dissatisfaction as we are caught in a constant competitive battle, looking for the more prestigious organization and the more prestigious job. While that may bring personal recognition and a feeling of accomplishment, in the end it is worthless. Your quote in the blog, “I could not tell him that the only â€œsure thingsâ€ are on the other side of death, of a hope both sure and secure” really reminds me of the perspective we need to have in life – the only sure thing is death. We aren’t guaranteed health or wealth or happiness, but we are guaranteed death. There is always going to be another gadget or trinket that we will want, but we need to put our hope in something more satisfying and everlasting.
It is always important, especially at this point in our lives- securing a job, thinking about what we want our professional lives to look like- to remember that wordly accomplishments, however great, are not ultimately what defines us. The decisions we make along the way and the choices we make in tough spots will be what people forever remember us by.
Your friend, Michael, has touched people by his life and story even after he has passed. We should only hope that we can touch lives along our journey of life and even after.
It seems that it’s stories like this bring us back to the thing that is most important and that’s living life to the fullest. Whether it’s spending time with college friends we may not see as often after graduation instead of studying for a test or simply choosing to give a call to our parents just to say hello. It is through strength not our own that will carry us through the difficult times and we have to trust in knowing where that strength will come from when we need it most.
The part in your story where you say: “Before I left the cemetery, I made sure that I had said â€œI love youâ€ to two people who should have heard it long ago. And I said an â€œI’m sorryâ€ that was almost thirty years overdue.” made me think about things that I have left unsaid. I may have been not have spoke my mind because I thought it was unintelligent or that I thought I would be left in the minority; it could have been for many reasons. But no matter the reason, I should not keep quiet because that would be me hiding from who I really am, which is never a good thing. Over the years, I have gotten increasingly better at expressing myself, but it is still sometimes a struggle for me. However, I keep trying because how am I truly supposed to make a difference in someone’s life if I keep my opinions/thoughts to myself?
It’s stories like these that really remind you how precious of a gift life is. It’s sad really, that as humans we have to be constantly reminded that the things that we see as “problems” and “stresses” in our life are so trivial. That having the fastest car or the coolest clothes will mean absolutely nothing one day. It’s ironic how often the people that, in our eyes, have everything are often missing out on the most fulfulling relationship of all.
For my ethical reading this week, I choose to read the book of John in the Bible. A verse that I had memorized as a little girl really stuck out to me this week and this blog reminded me again of it.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This life is so short. It’s stories like this one that makes that all the more evident to me. It makes me think about all the people that I love around me, and how I want to spend eternity with them one day as well. So many times I make excuses and put off talking to someone about Christ because I feel uncomfortable. But none of us are guaranteed another day on this earth and we don’t need to waste any of it by not telling someone about Christ. Worldy success and possesions are fleating, but a relationship with Christ will last forever.
On the internship we spent a day at a rough middle school in the Bronx teaching 6th graders about personal finance. My partner was a girl named Katie from Wake Forest. Even though we had a lesson plan, we realized that we couldn’t both stick to the plan and keep the kids from asking us remotely awkward questions about our love lives. So we spent the day trying to interject topics that were of more interest to them and at the same time teach them about the finance topics.
I probably shouldn’t have done this, but in an attempt to give them perspective on life, I drew a timeline on the chalkboard of 75 years average life expectancy and plotted out how everyone is getting closer to death everyday. I might as well have gone for the double play and told them Santa wasn’t real either. They looked depressed for about 20 seconds but forgot about it when one of the kids asked if Katie and I were married.
I don’t think we’re all that different from those 6th graders. We don’t like to contemplate death because it makes us uncomfortable. But not every society and culture feels that way. Many openly embrace death as a part of life, but Americans tend to really dread and delay it. Whether or not you are religious, I think it does us well to acknowledge and accept reality to the fullest.
Ignoring the reality of death contributes to bad calculations.
In an earlier post, MAM asked, “how am I truly supposed to make a difference in someone’s life if I keep my opinions/thoughts to myself?” This is interesting because I don’t think it’s so much about what you say to people; it is more about just living life according to the Golden Rule and upholding our own ethics and morals. I think you make a difference in people’s lives just by being who you are.
Dr. Shaub, in class you mentioned that over time we become like the people who we associate with. This weekend I thought about just how true that is. In addition to the friends we hang out with, I think a person can have a major impact on someone else’s life without ever having said more than a few words to them. I personally have met a couple people here at Mays in the PPA program who are the most genuine and ethically grounded people I have ever known. Knowing and being around such good people makes me want to be a better person.
Back to your blog on the loss of a “sure thing”: the passing of a friend is indeed a sad time. When I was in fourth grade, my best friend’s 3 year old sister drowned in a pool. I remember sitting at the funeral in church thinking, why would God take away a beautiful little girl after such a short time on this earth? I am reading Confessions of St. Augustine for my weekly ethics reading. In the book, after the death of a good friend Augustine comments: “What madness not to understand how to love human beings with awareness of the human condition!” We are all aware that all “sure things” travel on a path towards non-existence, yet we are always surprised when it happens. It is sad that it takes tragic times like these for us to realize what/who we take for granted and for us to reflect on things that we have or haven’t said to others.
Well, I’m not sure how I should address the breadth and depth of comments on this post. Maybe the best thing for me is to stay out of the way and let you talk to one another. But reading the comments certainly makes me stop and reflect on my life. I appreciate your stories.
I appreciated the story about the 6th graders. When I was in China last year, I gave students permission to ask me anything. Someone immediately shot up a hand. “Is your wife the only woman you ever loved?”
The words that really struck home with me in this post are ” a hope that is sure and secure.” My experience in life as well as others I’ve talked to is that we always look to tomorrow, to the next step in life, and ultimately always seeking more. The truth is though tomorrow is not promised. It is a gift from a God who has each of our lives planned. So many times I find myself thinking if I were this or I had this or could afford this, my life would be different or easier. But, the “sure thing” in life is that God has a purpose for our siutations, our relationships, and our future that may not be fully understood by humans. Reading the comments and quotes about this blog can make an impact of each of us if we allow ourselves to learn from each other, be empowered to live life fully, and strive to be a better person.
Thank you for sharing this story Dr. Shaub, it really does remind us how precious the gift of life is and how quickly it can be taken away. I just finished reading the book “The Shack,” which for those of you who are not familiar with it, is about a man who loses his young daugther in a tragic murder by a serial killer and goes on a “journey” with God to fix his broken relationship and trust in God. When he is questioning God about why he could allow such a horrific thing to happen to a young child, God responds, “there are millions of reasons to allow pain and hurt and suffering rather than to eradicate them, but most of those reasons can only be understood within each person’s story. I am not evil. You are the ones who embrace fear and pain and power and rights so readily in your relationships. But your choices are also not stronger than my purpose, and I will use every choice you make for the ultimate good and the most loving outcomeâ€¦The real underlying flaw in your life, Mackenzie, is that you don’t think that I am good. If you knew that I was good and that everything- the means, the ends, and all the processes of individual lives- is all covered by my goodness, then while you might not always understand what I am doing, you would trust me. But you don’tâ€¦Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me.â€ Although the circumstances are different than those with your friend, I think it is always hard to remember God has a plan in spite of what may look like a no hope situation.
Overall this blog left me feeling a bit depressed, probably because of how true it is. We look at others and say “wow, they are going to have such a bright future and they have so much going for them,” and it’s like we never imagine that something could happen and they would be gone. For ourselves, we spend so much time planning what our life is going to look like, where we will go, the family we will have. We think of things in life as ours, as if they belong to us, as if we have earned them. Anything we consider ours can be gone in a second. Knowing that we have so little control can be a scary thought. What brings me comfort is knowing that God is in control, knows His plans for me, and that after this life I get to participate in one that is so much better.
Though sayings like “Live for the day” are always meant to be hopeful and uplifting, to me they are almost sad because what people don’t usually say is the “because you never know how many more you might have” part that follows. I never want to think that I or someone close to me will be the one that has to go next, but even in my 21 years here I’ve seen many people die well before their time. I think the thing to remember here is that it isn’t that destination that matters, but the journey. For some of us, we may never reach the “kids swinging on the front porch, white house with a picket fence” perfect life that we always planned for ourselves. For us, its the journey and hopefully the lives that we’ve changed along the way that will live on even after we’re gone.
“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.” I know personally that with the hectic and competitive world we live in it is hard to justify just stopping to enjoy life. While reading your story I could feel a pit forming in my stomach and my mind starting wandering a mile a minute. Unfortunately, I feel like these are the eye opening occurrences that happen and really make us stop and think how important life outside straight A’s or a fast track career truly is. Since reading this story a few days ago I have tried to take time out of every day for myself and my personal development. Thank you so much for telling your story.
I always tell myself that the successes that you achieve in life will mean nothing if you have no one to share these moments with. So often people get too caught up in the fast track of making money and having fun and somehow along the way forget the people that care about them most. A quote that I heard a while back said, “Don’t let failure go to your heart and don’t let success go to your head”. This is such a powerful statement and something that everyone should remember.
I would make a true statement by saying that life is unfair. You will never live a perfect life, but you should look at each negative as a challenge preparing you for something better later on. I believe that everthing happens for a reason in life and it is what you do with these things that make you who you are.
Reading this story immediately made me think of a very close friend of mine that I almost lost a few months ago. I met him my freshman year here at A&M, and right away I KNEW this guy would be the rich owner of his own business one day. He was one of the smartest, innovative, and most business savy person I had met up to that point. Unfortunately, my friend got into some trouble the next year and was forced to move back home to Richardson. We started talking less because we both had our own stuff to take care of, but I still knew he would turn it around and get back on track. Then I got a phone call one day that my friend was in the hospital from a drug overdose. I couldn’t believe it. I never even imagined him even thinking about drugs, and next thing I know he almost died from them. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. It showed me how anyone is vulnerable to these “accidental failures” that have been mentioned above. This was someone that I looked up to at one point, and he was on his death bed. It’s stories like these that really hit home the point that there really are no sure things in life. Success and happiness is not promised. It reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Mos Def. He says, “Tomorrow may never show up. For you and me, this life is not promised.” We need to embrace every moment we have here and not let these “accidental failures” or “accidental successes” steer us away from who we are and want to be.
This blog reminded me of the well-known phrase, â€œCarpe Diemâ€. But what does â€œceasing the dayâ€ actually look like? As a Type A go-getter, I naturally view ceasing the day as try to cram as many things into one day as possible. I’m all about checklists and time management. However, reading this blog reminded me that a productive day with few minutes left idle doesn’t necessarily mean I lived my day to the fullest. It’s all about what I do, not how much I do.
At the end of the day, the only thing I truly care about is that I have spent my life investing in people and pursuing my passions. However, all too often my everyday actions don’t reflect this overarching purpose. I’m beginning to realize that uniting my daily activities with what I consider the purpose of my life may require me to stop cramming stuff into the day so that I can have â€œidleâ€ time to spend building relationships! Ceasing the day for me means ceasing to plan every minute of it!
I have heard numerous times throughout my life that the only two sure things in life are change and death. I have been blessed with an amazing family and amazing friends. Last month one of my good friend’s mom passed away. I helped him in trying to cope with the situation, but in actuality I had no idea what he was going through. I have luckily never had to deal with a situation like that before. It is inevitable that a similar situation in my life will occur sometime in the future and it will be difficult to overcome. It is hard to image a family member or close friend passing away, and I know that there are some people in my life that I will never forget.
Oh, wow. Clearly my brain was “ceasing” to work when I wrote my above comment! Of course by “cease” the day I meant “SEIZE”…please excuse my aggie moment!
As I read this post, I began reminiscing about my grandmother’s life and the impact she made on mine. Unlike your friend Michael, she found peace early on in her life and was a very strong Christian lady. As I watched her battle the fight with lung cancer, she inspired me and everyone else who knew her. She was the perfect mom and an incredible grandmother. She was extremely involved in her community and church, even continuing to deliver her meals on wheels route while undergoing intensive chemotherapy.
Watching my grandmother endure this incredible struggle with such hope and optimism, it was very apparent that believed in a â€œsure thing.â€ She had lived her life with no regrets and was preparing for the â€œsure thingâ€ she believed in, spending eternity with the Lord.
By loosing people in our lives like my grandmother and like your friend Michael, it can remind us to live for the one sure thing we can always have faith in, our relationship with the Lord.
While reading this post I was reminded of a tragedy that occurred at my high school about 4 – 4 1/2 years ago. One of the most popular kids at my high school, a guy whom I had see around school and out at parties, tragically died in a car accident. I did not know Ryan well, but a lot of my good friends were good friends with him. He made a poor decision on that fateful night, a decision that would cost him his life. That night he went to a party at his brother’s house, he partied a little too hard, and decided to drive home. On his way home he drove off the rode and slammed into a culvert. He didn’t die that night, but was in the hospital for about a week. I had to have part of his leg amputated and was in a coma the whole time. After a week he couldn’t fight any longer and he passed away.
I saw how upset everyone was about this tragedy and wondered what his life would have been like. Sadly we will never know what he could have done. I also often think about whether or not this tragedy taught anyone a lesson. I know many people were more careful about drinking and driving right after the accident, but I wonder if they continue to be careful? I hope that they are, for their sakes and that Ryan’s death served a purpose.
After reading this blog, my mind immediately went to my grandmother as well as she has been having many health problems lately and is constantly in my prayers. But I think about the countless years she has spent praying, worrying, stressing about all of her children and grandchildren. At family gatherings, she openly shares how herself and my Papa have God number one in their lives and how everything is in His hands. She always says is that her only hope is that each and every one of us is able to keep Christ in our lives and stand firm in our faith. When it’s our time to leave this earth, money, possessions, and status have no meaning–the only ‘sure thing’ is our faith and relationship with Christ. My grandmother has dedicated so many years of her life trying to get us to understand this concept of the importance of our faith and how God has a plan set out for each and every one of us. When I was younger, all of this talk were more of just words without meaning, but as I am growing and maturing both in life and in my faith, I understand why she spends so much time worrying that each of us keeps Christ in our lives. Her abounding love for her children and grandchildren as well the strength of her faith continue to amaze me each and every day.
And more often than not, it takes a tragic experience such as an accident or death to bring us back to the path that we lost sight of. It’s important to realize that our time on this earth is limited and we need to spend every chance sharing our peace with others and that even small gestures or saying ‘I love you’ more often can affect others more than we think.
What stood out to me most in this post was your talk of Michael’s search for peace.
When everyone expects you to achieve whatever you want, being content is seen as a disappointment. Michael never found the happiness you did, because he didn’t know how to find his own happiness. He forever had the whispers of others in his ear: you can do anything, the world is your oyster, “Marvelous Mike,” and the like. Michael was forever striving towards the dreams of others, where failure led to twice the disappointment. Once for failing and again for not finding himself.
You found happiness in wife and religion. Michael never found his place, because he never knew to look. I am not saying the key to happiness is deep introspection, but if you find yourself doing things because other people say it will make you happy, perhaps you should take a look at your motivation.
I know I may have grossly misrepresented Michael, and all apologies if I did. That said, the above is the meaning I found in your post.
I would characterize myself as the eternal optimist, believing that anything is possible and can be achieved in this world. However, I’ve also encountered many failures, letdowns, and disappointments in my life. Right after my internship, I took a vacation with my father, someone who I rarely get to spend time with but love and admire to such a degree that I doubt can ever be matched. Throughout the whole trip, I was yapping away, excited about my offer and the success I hoped to achieve in my career. I wanted him to be proud of me and to understand that I will carry out my ambition with hard work, integrity, and the respect for others (all the values I admire and learned from him).
On the last night of our trip together, my father decided that it would be a good time to just settle down and teach me some life lessons. One of the most important caveats he mentioned related to my future and my optimism, “Joy, something I’ve learned during my lifetime is that when you receive good news, when you anticipate the coming of success, let that information and excitement settle first. Be patient, because your build-up of excitement and hope can not only make your disapointment feel greater (if it doesn’t turn out the way you want), it can also be the cause of not getting what you want. Let it settle, because if you act upon it too rashly, you can alter it’s course.”
So regarding your topic of “a sure thing”: I don’t believe there is such a thing as certainty (obviously except for death and taxes; we sure know how to beat that dead horse in accounting). But these letdowns and disappointments only make people stronger, wiser, and human.
Reading this blog made me think of my aunt that I recently lost to liver cancer. It all happened so fast. She was diagnosed and within 2 months, my family was planning her funeral service. Throughout the two months and ever since that day, I have had time to think about life and its many lessons. I have learned that life at times can be too short. It can slip through our fingers without us realizing it. And if that is the case, we must appreciate every moment we are granted on this earth. Since my aunt’s passing, I have made a deliberate effort to constantly give thanks and count my blessings. I’ve also decided to stop and smell the roses, to treat others with respect, and to not get caught up with materialistic goals but rather focus on the simple things that make me happy. Also, I want to live life with no regrets. Prior to this reality check, I always assumed I would have enough time to correct my past faults. I now know that life can end at any moment without the chance for vindication; so why not live life strictly in accordance with my moral compass, so that at the end of the day I can sleep peacefully?
I attended a friend’s funeral this past weekend. He was a bright guy, someone that can make you feel so comfortable to be around and just have a good time. Saying goodbye to him one last time was difficult.
I realized what’s important is spending time with friends and family. Often, we always get wrapped up in other things like work and school… forgetting to spend quality time with the people we love. We usually take this for granted and later look back only to regret not spending more time with our close ones for whatever the reason was then.
Death has always been a hard subject for me to talk about, but this reminds me of one of my best friends from high school, Bryce. Bryce and I did not always make the best decisions growing up, but we sure had fun. Although I made great grades, Bryce always floated below mediocracy. Although he had poor grades, I never doubted that he would become one of the most successful students from our high school. He had the ability to make anyone laugh and could get anyone to like him. He went to UNLV on a full ride for football and was a promising athlete there. Last summer he had a skateboarding accident and suffered major damage to his brain. It was an eye opener for me. I remembered Bryce as a 6’4″ 225lb beast. The first time I was able to see him was a month after the accident and only weighed 155lbs and needed help with every daily task. He has been in rehab ever since the accident. He has improved 10 fold and even beat me in arm wrestling the last time I saw him.
Its hard to watch someone who I thought was invincible struggle with tasks that I do without having to think about. This event opened my eyes to how fast everything can change in an instant.
Like many of you have mentioned, I have been very blessed in my life. I have also had reminders along the way about how fragile life is. There really are no ‘sure things’ and no guarantees, except death.. and taxes. One of these reminders was a story of a very close friend of mine in high school. He hasn’t had as blessed of a life as many of us have been lucky to have, he had a family that never supported him and made fun of his new found faith in Jesus Christ. I would always try and get him to go to church with me, and he would usually come along. At our mission trip one summer, he told his story. He said he had given up on life and had decided to do the worst and take his own life. He had the knife, and was about to end it all, and all of a sudden something stopped him. He realized that he had 3 friends who loved him and brought him to Jesus. He named the three friends, and I was one of them. I was so shocked at hearing this, I had no idea he was going through all these issues. It just really hit me that life is so fragile, and you never know what small act can change someone’s life forever.
Reading this blog the first time made me immediately think of my grandma, who passed away during this semester. I remember being at her funeral feeling completely sorrowful but joyful at the same time. I know for sure she is in Heaven. That fact made the grieving process so much easier. I felt entirely blessed to have been her grandson. The love she had for others shined through in everything she did.
As the saying goes, the only “sure things” in life are death and taxes. With that in mind, stories like this encourage me to live the life I’ve been blessed with to my full potential. Never miss an opportunity to appreciate the people that have made you who you are, and strive to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
One of the things I have noticed in the comments to this blog, and definitely a theme throughout this blog, is the idea of perspective.
I would agree with many that the time we have had in school has gone by very quickly, and considering the things spoken about by people who have already graduated, it seems that life after college will move by just as quick. With that though in mind, I have asked myself several times where is my purpose, my goal, and what is my pursuit. In short, I have asked the question that this blog and many of its comments seems to raise, what is my perspective throughout a life that is speeding by, with an end result that is the same for everyone.
Not in attempt to be dramatic, but I heard someone say one time, “the only thing every human being has in common, is that there is coming a day, no matter what you do between now and then, that they will die.” As somber as it may sound, this is true. No amount of medical research has been able to reverse this truth. That statement for some is troubling and for others it is hope, and the difference lies in perspective.
So what perspective are we to have, and how do we get there? For me, I would have to say that my perspective lies in a realization that is summed up in a quote from this blog, “the only â€œsure thingsâ€ are on the other side of death, of a hope both sure and secure.” For me, I have found my perspective, is that purchased for me is a life everlasting through Christ. This has to be my perspective, because it is the only thing that is not temporal. It is the only thing that is constant. It is the only thing that has merited the worth of our lives and so much more. The details may be for another blog entry, but that inevitable day for me is not one of fear and uncertainty any more. Although I have to be reminded often and I am about as far from perfect as possible, no matter what happens in school with grades or job offers, or after school in my professional career; it remains true that my perspective is on a life after this, that nothing and no one can take away or change, and one that I did not merit but was freely given, as to any who would believe.
Thanks for sharing the story Dr. Shaub.
Just like the first few comments mentioned, I haven’t been through anything tragic really. Deep down inside I know I’m very thankful to God for that. However, I have to admit that I do take things for granted sometimes. I get so caught up with my busy life that I tend to forget how blessed I’m truly are. I am very fortunate to have the beautiful people around me and to simply have a loving life. It is not until I hear of a tragedy or something sad happening to someone else that I stop and ponder on how unexpected life can be. It gives me great grief to hear sad stories of someone else’s life. I guess life can be depressing sometimes. You never know when your turn to leave this earth is going to be. Much worse, you never know when someone close to you will go through a tragedy. Reading this article, I realized that the only â€œsure thingâ€ we have is our faith, and even that can get lost along the way. We just have to be really careful in keeping it and not letting anyone or anything take it away from us. That is a â€œsure thingâ€ I wouldn’t be able to live without.
This discussion hits close to home with me, as I lost a longtime friend in high school to a wrong-way drunk driver. It’s been almost six years, but sometimes it even now isn’t a reality to me. I still occasionally have dreams at night that she’s still here. One of my other close friends was in the car with her and survived. I’ve always felt some sort of strange guilt about the situation even though I was in no way involved, and I can only imagine how my surviving friend feels. I think the small tinge of guilt I feel every now and then is the fact that I am not always living my life to the fullest, and it is obvious that there is no prediction of when it could be cut short. There will never be an answer to the whys or hows of these types of situations, but if there is one “sure thing” it’s that we can carry that person’s spirit into putting forth our best effort every day. There’s really no reason not to.
While reading this post I can’t help but think of all the people I’ve met over the years, befriended and then unfortunately lost contact with due to one reason or another. Some of these people were my best friends, much like Michael was to you, yet I have not heard or talked to them in months and sometimes even years. I can’t help but think what has happened to them since I’ve lost in touch and what they are currently doing in life. Every time I think about this I always make a promise to myself that I’ll try harder to retain friends I’ve made, but unfortunately this seems to be a promise I break too often.
Reading this entry has made me realize that in reality I’ve never lost anyone of importance, knock on wood, during my 22 years on this green Earth. I honestly don’t know how my life would be shaped if I had encountered a situation like this, but I believe I am truly blessed to have avoided this pain for so long. I feel that the message I’ve taken from this is to live life fully, which is a message I’ve taken as well from the book I was reading last week for the WERs.
I really do appreciate your willingness to share something like this with your students. One day I hope to be half the teacher you are.
This entry provoked alot of thought about my life and the people living life around me. For the most part, our entire lives have been “sure things.” I grew up in a home where it was expected to graduate high school, it was expected to graduate college, expected to get at least one degree after college (my mom has 3 and is going for a 4th in the Fall), and to get a great job. Every one of those things was a sure thing. It was a sure thing that I make friends in college because thats what everyone does. Its a sure thing that I will work for PWC in the fall because I signed an offer with them. But when I really step back and look at my life, none of these things have been a “sure” thing. Each of them has happened because they are a part of a greater plan and the fact that I think I have had anything to do with it is ignorant thinking on my part. It is NOT a sure thing that I will make it to Fall 2011 and work for PWC. Who knows what will come into my life between now and then. This blog was a real eye opener. I know that life is not always a sure thing, but when you get in the day to day routine, it is very easy to forget that we have no control. It is very easy to get wrapped up in “my” plans, when they actually weren’t even mine to begin with.
Not many things in this world are a guarantee, but death is one of them. We have to make sure that we live each moment to the fullest, and that we spend time with the ones that we love, and tell them how we feel about them before it is too late. Some people in this world think that success, money, and power should be a guaranteed thing, and they are willing to sacrifce pretty much anything to achieve this success, even if it is in an unethical way. They think that they are so powerful that they are invinsible, and that they will not get caught or in trouble for their actions. We have to surround ourselves with the people that will bring us back down to earth, and keep us humble, just like you were doing for your friend. We also need to make sure, as friends, we are letting those around us know if we do not agree with what they are doing. Just like Professor Roach talked about yesterday, we can not “tolerate those” who have unethical actions around us.
Like many of the other comments, this post brings self-reflection. The part that hit home for me is when you said “I love you” and “I’m sorry” to different people, but your didn’t get the opportunity to say anything to Michael. It is sad, but true, that it takes very significant events to cause us to say those words to others. I hope that I can remember this story and speak those words before a tragedy occurs, and I don’t have the opportunity to say it to one or many people that I would have liked too.
This article made me think about the other ways “sure things” could end besides death. And I am also wondering – do my parents consider me a “sure thing”? Do all of our parents consider us “sure things”? I’ve never considered myself much of a success story, but I haven’t really failed either. I mean most of us are graduating from college with graduate degrees and full-time offers. Are we sure things? My parents don’t have college degrees. The thought of it kind of makes it hard to breathe. If I made a big mistake, if my life took a drastic turn, would my parents go through the grief of losing a sure thing? They aren’t counting on me for financial support, but do I provide some other sort of emotional security, if I don’t screw up? That’s a lot of pressure.. my parents have never hinted anything like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Do I want to make sure I don’t put that kind of pressure on my own children?
This post reminds me of the saying don’t count your chickens before they hatch. I think that many of us in PPA feel that because of the successes of our past we are destined to all have greatness in our future. Our parents, teachers, and others around us tell us that we are sure things to live a successful life. In reality what we make of our lives is in our control. I feel that many times I look so far in the future and envision myself having future success instead of creating a successful life right now. So many times I get caught up in the future and forget the impact I can have on other people’s lives right now. In the end of my life I will base my “success” in life by my faith and type of impact I have on other people’s faith. I get so caught up in trying to become “a sure thing” to be a Godly leader of the household and forget the type of impacts I can have in all of those who are around me at the present. This post has encouraged me to become grounded in my faith and make sure not to forget the present because I’m thinking about my future.
I recently lost a family member last semester. My Uncle Mike was my Dad’s oldest brother in a family of 8 kids. He was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor 6 months before his death, and it was the same type of tumor that killed his father, my grandpa. I remember that as soon as the diagnosis came out, my Uncle Mike and his wife Aunt Terri started keeping us all updated online. I read and responded almost everyday to their adventures at the doctors and with all the medicines they tried. However, what struck me the most was the faith that resonated in each and every blog. They were both Christians, and yet they had never been that strong in professing their faith and sharing their beliefs. Yet, they held on to their faith and let it grow, helping them through the tough time, and continuing to help my aunt as she is now widowed. Their faith allowed them to see the humor of the situation, of the life still left, and made my entire family (about 50 in total on that one side) that we were bonded by family love and a love of God so much more then we imagined. Your blog reminds me of this because you talk about you friend still searching for peace. My family still had peace throughout this situation because of our faith. And this peace overflows into all areas of our lives. None of us can say our lives will turn out a certain way, or that anything is a sure thing. Yet, my beliefs, and my family’s, allow me to have peace and assurance that ‘sure things” are not important and will always change. But, with Christ, we can handle what life throws at us.
This was really moving, Dr. Shaub. It brings back memories of so many good times I’ve had with so many people throughout the years, and it takes reading something like that sometimes to serve as a reminder not to take those people for granted. I’m very impressed with your ability to teach an ethics class without entwining religion in it. As a Christian, it would be a struggle for me to do the same. While it’s disheartening to hear of someone not developing his faith during his short time on earth, it’s that much greater to hear that you’ve found yours.
I really enjoyed this blog and all 53 previous comments. What an encouraging spiritual lesson from Dr. Shaub, Taylor, Colleen, “hmm”, and others. I don’t know if I can add anything that hasn’t already been said by my wise peers. I can get really caught up in the day-to-day stresses of trying to achieve personal success. I am just thankful to be reminded that my real purpose in life is being Christ’s servant. To quote Dr. Smith from earlier today (and the Bible, of course), what good would it be for me to gain the whole world and lose my soul?
Thank you for sharing such a sobering experience. I had a similar experience this past year with a close friend that took his life and it was as equally mind-numbing. It was tough to grasp the idea that he was truly gone and that I wouldn’t be able call him up on a whim as I once had. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the details of my own life and where I want to go with my career. I feel myself constantly working for a goal i.e. good grades, fulfilling job, success. When events like this enter my life, it causes me to pull myself out of that mindset and think about what the purpose of my life really is. It’s strange to say such a tragic event is almost refreshing in that sense, but it is. I would like to see myself maintain a scope of what the purpose of my life really is without requiring a catalyst as heartbreaking as a friend’s death.
It’s amazing to think about how much one minute, or even one second, can change your life forever. A marathon, a car accident, a heart attack – so many outcomes are shaped by the minutes it took to create them. Waiting one second longer at a stop sign could prevent you, or someone else, from serious harm or even death. Or it could just get you to class one second sooner. But it’s up to us to make those potentially life changing decisions and deal with the consequences. Throughout the course of the semester, I’ve become more grounded in my decision-making and made it my goal to truly consider the potential outcomes of my choices. I will ask myself the tough questions and strive to always maintain my integrity.
I’ve read this blog twice now because it is so impactful. I appreciate you sharing so much truth and wisdom, Dr. Shaub. It’s hard to stop and realize, especially in our busy, everyday lives, the things that truly matter. I often get caught up in small things and have to remind myself to take a step back and know that what is important, what I value the most, are the relationships with my family, friends, and faith. Thank you for this reminder to stay grounded in all that we do.
This is something I have wanted to talk to you about for a long time, Dr. Shaub. I really enjoy talking about religion and people’s faith mostly because it is the thing that defines so many people. I like to question people’s beliefs because to me if you truly believe something, you better know why you believe it. Blind obedience is something that I cannot agree with, something my parents and I have butted heads on since before I can remember. You need to really think about what you are living your life by. This is something that too many people (probably the Jeff Skillings of the land) do not give enough thought to, and look what happens!
I have battled my whole life trying to answer the question of whether God exists or does not exist. I assure you I have tried so very hard over the years to believe, and I will say I was “successful” up until my first year in college. I was never a big church fan; I was raised a devote Catholic. Baptism, reconciliation, first communion, confirmation – I was making progress on my religious check-list. I have always valued loyalty in my life, and therefore I was loyal to my faith. I said I would be Catholic, so I was a Catholic. I say successful loosely because I never really questioned it, something I now feel is crucial to something you going to live your life by. I was always interested in other religions as well, because it just baffled me that so many other people believed these different ideas……but they were wrong, and we were right….I was never able to grasped this.
When I got my daily dose of the real world during my first year at college, I just could no longer keep saying “I believe” because I said I would. I lost faith in my faith. So many bad things from so many people claiming to believe the same thing I did. It broke me. There were several significant personal events that happened to me that have since changed my life and shaped me into the person I am today. I am much happier and my life is full of joy because I want it that way. I am now a devote Agnostic, if there can even be such a thing. The atheist would say, “Prove to me that God exists.” There is no proof. I would respond, “Prove to me that God does not exist.” There is no proof. This is where I am in my life – indifferent.
The whole reason I prefaced this final paragraph is to support my belief to live your life with purpose. Live for something! Something to look forward to, something worth fighting for NOW because you believe it is worth having. I know that I will die someday (something not everyone has fully come to terms with – believe me, I have had lots of conversations on the matter) and therefore why should I be afraid of it? I do not know what will happen to me after that, it is not something I can control, whether there is a God or not, so I am going to live my life because I CAN control that. Surely, a God so powerful as to create EVERYTHING certainly has the power to change his/her/its mind. I said before I am much happier because every single day I get to enjoy every single day! I have decide to live my life helping those in need, in real need, because it is what I believe is the right thing to do and that is how I feel I can leave the world a better place than when I got here. If there is a God, may he/she/it respect me for that, and only that. That is the only compliment I want to hear at the end, “You did great with the life you had.” If there is not a God, then I will be dead and I will not be able to be disappointed. I think religion needs to viewed as more of a personal philosophy rather than what has happened and will happen. Science and religion can coexist, they just cannot overlap. Science is about things that are measurable and observable. Religion is about things that cannot be measured and cannot be observed (obviously not all of religion is this, but the foundational stuff is what I am referring to). I truly hope I have not offended anyone, as that was in no way my intention. This is just something I have thought a lot about, and this seemed like a good time to share it.
Reading this blog, really makes me realize just how blessed and fortunate I am to of grown up with the family I have. I luckily, grew up in a home that stood for something, with parents that instilled vaules in me that I will hold for a life time. I know that I have an everlasting life to look forward to and that this time on earth is just a stepping stone to something greater. However just as you did with Michael, I notice friends ongoing search for true peace and happiness in this life. While many of them have become successful and are doing great things. its easy to see they are still missing something. This blog really opens my eyes that life is short and that I need to try harder to show these friends what they are missing. I hope that I can share this gift with them before it’s too late!
This was one of my favorite blogs because it reminds me that there is no such thing as a â€œsure thing.â€ Even as many of us have accepted our offers to work after college, we still aren’t absolutely guaranteed that the job with still be there when we graduate. For example, look at the employees at Arthur Andersen or WorldCom. Most of them had no idea that there company was soon to be going bankrupt. That’s why I believe that every morning we should thank God for just waking us up for another day, because we aren’t guaranteed that we will have one tomorrow. I’m always reminded of the Greek saying, â€œCarpe Diemâ€ or seize the day. If we aren’t guaranteed that we have tomorrow, why don’t we just live in the present? Tragedies and road blocks happen every day, and I have had certainly some happen to me as I have gone through college. That is why I think God reminds me to not worry about the â€œguaranteesâ€ tomorrow holds and to just concentrate on what I have been presently given.
We never know what the next day brings. So often we live our lives as if we have everything under control and we can run our own lives, when really this could not be any farther from the truth. And I am glad for it in a way. Running my own life would certainly be a disaster…. I have never had to deal with losing a close friend as you describe in the story. I know of what it takes from you only from my sister. Seeing the effect that Lindsay’s death took on her is a very real reminder to count your blessing daily. Each day is a blessing in itself- how many little things would we let roll off of us if we lived with this reality in the front of our minds?
Wow, that is a sobering post. It reminds me that life is short, precious, and not under our control. The story urges me to live out what really matters to me. I hope to live for things that will matter in eternity, not things that are trivial. This ties in closely with what I have learned the most from the Ethics course this semester, which is to know what your values are in life and have the courage to live for them.
I think that if I live the days of my life, focused on what is of true worth and value, then I’ll be content with dying even at an early age. Seeing as how I have almost no control over when I’ll die, I feel an urgent call to live this way the rest of today. And then again tomorrow. This will result in a rich life, regardless of how many more years, months or days God has in store for me on this earth.
I respect the fact that you would share this with us, Dr. Shaub; it means a lot to me that a teacher would share a personal experience from their life such as this. However, reading it just makes me realize that no matter how sure things look, there is never a 100% guarantee. The only guarantee that we have in life is that we can rely on God to always be there for us. Knowing this makes me want to approach the future differently in realizing that even if I’m not successful in life, there are far more important things . I want to always remember that times shared with friends and family are the things that truly stick with you and letting them know how you feel is so very important.
Going along with what almost everyone else has been saying, I am going to agree about the fallacy of a sure thing. As the story tells us, Michael has everything he could have going for him. He was smart, strong, and popular, and seemed to be set up for success. But it turns out that even with all of this, he was never able to find happiness or peace.
After thinking about this, I am not sure if “sure thing” really exists in life. There are many things that seem appear very good on the outside, but are missing a little on the inside. I feel that our best bet to find a sure thing is to find one something that is as close to a sure thing as possible, and nurture and develop it into its full potential. I believe that with effort on our part, we can turn the “sure things” in our lives into truly beneficial things.
This passage made me think of two things. First it reminded me of one of my favorite biblical verses.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.”
This verse means so much to me because I have such a hard time giving up control in my life. As a Christian, we are called upon to let the Lord direct our lives. In every area of my life I have tried to rule and control and make it my own, I have failed miserably. Whether it has been in relationships, plans, ideas, or anything, I always meddle it up in some way. The most productive and successful parts of my life have been by chance, and whatever people like to call these things, I choose to call it God’s will. I can’t wait to see where he takes my life in the future, I just hope that I can have the faith to let him rule my life.
The other thing this passage made me do, is think about how important it is to live for the moment and appreciate everyone in your life. Our life is so fleeting and nothing is ever guaranteed except that we will all perish. As a kid, I never went a night without telling every member of my family “I love you” before I went to bed. I feel like if we all were more proactive about appreciating each other and telling each other how much we care about them, our lives and theirs would turely be enhanced, because at some point all of us our going to have our last day on each and we never know when our last day will be.
When I hear of stories such as this, I am immediately put in my place. A few weeks ago I was pulling an all-nighter and was boggled down with tests and a heavy work schedule, I was stressing over registration and even slightly more serious issues such as paying tuition. Then my roommate came home, who I had not spoken to in nearly weeks. She had tears in her eyes and immediately broke down with one of the most heartbreaking difficult situations imaginable. I was instantly almost mad at myself, for even wasting time feeling stressed over my “problems.” It made me realize that having a job that gives me too many hours sometimes is something millions of people would love to have, or having the opportunity to be overloaded with tests at such a prestigious university is really something to celebrate. I do not think we should constantly fear death just to be reminded to “live it up” but I do think these moments of clarity are important to ponder on regularly.
Joe – I am really impressed with your courage to share your opinion…especially with the precept that Texas A&M has developed into a place where being “religious” is almost “popular”. Although I see things differently, I think there is a lot to be said about truly questioning the existence of a God(the blog only reinforces the urgency of this question). I wish more people who believe in God…specifically the God of The Bible…would be as confident and inquisitive as you. This includes myself (writing under a different name)…I do this because I do not consider myself worthy of the relationship He sought to have with me and I would much rather my actions draw someone’s interest to our relationship then a self-proclamation.
â€œMy actions silenced my lips.â€ I heard this quote a couple weeks ago as a gentleman’s response to why he did not share his faith to a man who had passed away.
One thing I have learned about myself in college is to have no regrets. I am a firm believer in there being a perfect plan for everyone; even though it might not be the route you want to take at the time. At the start of my college experience, I was afraid of being rejected by organizations and my solution was easy: don’t apply. Later, I realized what I was missing out on. At that point, I decided to give it my best shot and whatever the result, I found peace in the acceptance or rejection. The first time I applied to the PPA Program, I did not get admitted. However, I had room in my schedule to retake acct 327 and apply again in the spring. If I had not taken 327 again, I would have always wondered what would have happened. Fortunately, it worked out the second time around. Although I was disappointed when I didn’t get in initially, I look back and see that it happened this way for a reason.
It is unfortunate when something drastic has to happen to make you realize the importance. The more transparent we are with each other, the more we can learn from each other’s actions and mistakes. The quote, â€œMy actions silenced my lipsâ€ is a constant reminder that, no matter what your beliefs are, actions are louder than words.
I really appreciate and can relate to two of the previous comments on this post that caught my eye. First, I really appreciate Chris sharing the quote that his football coach shared with his team. This quote is something that really touched me because lately I have fallen victim to burnout. Recently I just have no desire to study or do anything that I need to do. I don’t know what is causing this because I have never been like this before. Normally, I always strive to be as productive as possible all throughout the day, every single day. I can’t stand sleeping in really late because I feel like it is such a waste of time. I used to jokingly tell my mother that sleeping was a waste of time because you can sleep when you’re dead. I am so thankful that I Chris’s comment caught my eye because I need to get back to the way I used to be. My grandfather always told me to “never put off for tomorrow, what can be done today”. I need to live by this again.
The other comment that caught my eye was Allyssa’s. Sometimes it is so hard for me to trust that everything will be okay. I know that God is in control of my life, but at times I fail at remembering that fact. The verse that came to my mind as I read your blog is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” This verse has brought me comfort in some of the toughest times in my life. It reminds me that God is in control and is always working for the good in my life. It gives me courage to keep my head up no matter what is going on around me because God is always working in my life, always trying to make me the person I should be. I just have to trust and let him mold my life. I have found that it’s at times when the “sure thing” turns out not to be so sure that we run to our Savior for questions. Our suffering truly does make us stronger if we seek the Lord to help us during these times.
It is so easy for us to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the big picture. This story really drives home how precious and fragile this life really is. It also helps us realize the importance of family, friends, and spirituality. When life seems to focus on competition, rights, and ambitions, it’s hard to consciously take enough time to give thanks and realize how fortunate we really are to live in a country that allows us the freedom to speak our mind, that provides us with unimaginable opportunity, and that allows us to live the life we want without persecution. For me, this blog emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with those who are important to you and seizing every opportunity to let the people you care about know how you feel.
This blog is somewhat depressing, but at the same time eye opening. How sad it is that so many times we wait to say the things we need or want to until it is to late. Although it is sometimes hard to hear, I know this is a good reminder to always tell those I love how I feel and never leave things unsaid because we really never know when we will no longer have a second chance.
Another item that caught my attention in this blog was the discussion of success. In high school you said that your friend was set up for a life full of success, but how exactly was everyone measuring it. In my opinion I would argue that success should be defined as your later description of finding Christ and a loving wife. I recently heard a message that discussed how “talent without character gets you to a place you do not wait to be”. These same talents that may lead you to the worldly definition of success can ultimately lead you to a place of emptiness and disappointment. Some of the most “successful” people in the world are also the most empty and unhappy. That’s not to say that I don’t understand that everyone is different and people value different things, but I can only speak from my own observation and experiences.
I’m 21 years old and I have been to 10 funerals. I’ve watched 3 family members, 2 softball coaches, my mom’s best friend, and 4 of my friends get buried. Though all of them were hard, this post brought back memories from a few of them. One Friday night in high school, I was at a party and got in an argument with this guy named David. It wasn’t a huge fight, and truthfully I wouldn’t have even called him one of my good friends. When he left the party that night he came up to me, tried give me a hug, but I was stubborn and wouldn’t let him. That next night he died in a car crash. As most would, I struggled with this for a long time. What was I thinking, It’s just a hug.
At each one of these funerals I reflected on my life, and I also said, â€œI love youâ€ and â€œI’m sorryâ€ to those people I should have told a long time ago. I think it’s sad that it takes a funeral to make us realize these things. I’m just as guilty as the next person. You’d think after attending so many funerals, I’d realize that there may not be a tomorrow to say the things I want and need to. Maybe it takes conversations and posts like these to remind us without learning the hard way.
This blog really makes you think about your life and how you choose to live it. Everyone knows that the only for sure things in life are death and taxes. I had a similar situation in my highschool. We won state my senior year and we had a star running back who had committed to Texas. Over the course of the next year he bounced around from Texas to Arizona, then SFA, until he broke his neck in a car wreck. In high school he was the big man on campus and he told everyone one how they would see him on Sundays. This blog has reminded me that no matter how much you tell yourself or others tell you you will be great at the end of the day you have to go earn it. I believe that if you think everything will just fall in your lap you will be very disappointed. To be sucessful requires a lot of hard work.
This story hits very close to home for me as well. Earlier this semster a guy I had played on the high school tennis team with for two years took his own life. In high school we were all counting on him as a “sure thing”. He was one of the smartest kids in our grade and ended up transferring to a boarding school junior year for more of an academic challenge. He was also a star tennis player who went on to be a captain on the Yale tennis team in college. Although I had mostly lost touch with him when he moved junior year of high school, I still knew that he was going to go on to do great things because of his great intelligence as well as his caring personality. I guess looking back it was not such a sure thing because internally there were issues which nobody but him knew about. Although I had not seen him in four years, it still was a shock that he could do something like this and I felt nothing but sadness and fear for his family in their ability to cope. However, I then began to think that with God they would hopefully be able to get through this terrible time and know that their loved one is now in a better place. Thanks so much for sharing this blog and allowing us to learn about some of the harder experiences in your life, it really does help.
Death is such an intense, deep issue to share one’e feelings about and stories of loved ones. I have been fortunate in my life to have only say goodbye to one immediate family member that I actually remember. Whenever I talk about my the loss of my granddad there is one feeling that comes over me: there is so much more out there. I wish I was better at meditating and really slowing down to contemplate what is happening in my life. I have spend numerous summers in the mountains with no cell phone service or internet for five days out of the week. It was in those times, with no distractions, that I could really sit down, bask in the presence of God and really appreciate everything that I had done since the previous summer. When I say that there is more out there I mean that I am such a small part of the world and because I have been so blessed in my life, I have a duty to share those blessings with others.
I have been overccome with reflection and reverence after reading this post and the following comments. I first have to say, thank you, for sharing your story with us. It takes a lot share the feelings surrounding a loss, no matter how recent. I am most impressed with your statements of “I love you” and “I’m sorry” to friends from the past. Growing up, I moved about every 2 1/2 years to different places around the country. Each move, you pick up your life, move to a brand new and strange place, hope for the best, and try to leave the past in the past. It hurts sometimes leaving those you loved so much for a place so far away. But, somethings were ever to easy to leave behind….conflict, fear of not succeeding in that environment, not knowing what decision to make. I even remember telling my mom one night, sophmore year in high school after I felt like my life in Indiana couldn’t be put back together (My best friend of all time had just moved to FL and my other two best friends were caught up in the cattiest girl fight of all time….girls…), “We can move now. I’m done here. I want to move on.” I did not realize it then, sadly enough, that I did not know how to face conflict with people you love head on. You don’t always have to pick up your life and move somewhere else just because these aren’t going the way you planned, or hoped for.
The point to the story though, is that I have always wondered what I would say, given the opportunity, to long lost friends from the many places I’ve lived. There are many people that I want to tell, “you have impacted my life more than you could imagine,” “I’m sorry,” and more. You have given me more confidence to not take people in my life for granted. I’m not the most vocal person in expressing to others what they mean to me, and I need to be. I’ve always tried to block out those emotions so that I don’t have to face disappointment when the time comes to move on. I do not want to let life pass me by without letting those around me know how much I love them. Thank you.
There is no such thing as a “sure thing.” Life offers no guarantees, and we should all be living every day as if it is a precious gift. Unfortunately, we tend to get caught up in the mundane details of day-to-day life, and we forget to really take the time to appreciate what we’ve been given.
Several years ago, a girl I grew up with lost her life in a car accident. She was on her way to a Christmas party with her cheer team, and was driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. The driver’s side of her Jetta hit a tree that is about 8 inches in diameter, and she was pronounced dead less than three hours later. My point in sharing this story is not to gain sympathy for Rianna’s passing, but merely to illustrate that every moment is so precious. I am certain Rianna didn’t leave the house that evening thinking her life would end a few hours later, concluding her 16 years in one moment of misjudgment.
Tell your family and friends that you love them. Not just sometimes, but all the time. My friends probably find my affection annoying, but if any of them (or you) have ever witnessed a tragedy such as this, you understand how quickly your chances to say those words can be swept away.
Wow, what an amazing string of comments. Since most people have responded to Dr. Shaub’s original post, I actually wanted to comment on Joe’s highly insightful comment. What a breath of fresh air for one, to see someone who exemplifies what it means to be true to yourself. I think it is such a rare quality to find in people, especially at A&M, as other people have mentioned, where “being religious = being popular” to some extent. And what I have observed, personally as well as in others around me, is that this does not simply apply to religion. Why does almost every girl wear Nike athletic shorts, why does everyone have a North Face backpack, why do people drink Starbucks, why do people go to Breakaway? I would be pretty confident to say: because everyone else does.
I am 100% guilty of the first three for sure (as I sit here and drink my iced Starbucks latte), however, I have never been to Breakaway. Joe mentioned in his comment that if you believe something, you need to know why you believe it. And honestly, this makes so much sense and makes me question a lot of the things that I believe, because when I think about it, I couldn’t tell you my reasoning behind a lot of my beliefs (especially religious ones). However, if someone were to ask me, I’d probably give the generic, acceptable answer that would not give someone reason to judge me. Why? Because it’s so much easier to fit in than to stand out.
I have not taken the time that Joe has to really figure out what I want to get out of life and what I want to give of myself in this life, but reading his post really sent a shock of reality to me that it is something I should spend a good deal of thoughtful time pondering. It is simply not enough to live your life simply by what you see other people doing or what other people dictate as “popular” or “acceptable”. You must find the values that you want to use to guide your own life, and then try your hardest to stick to those values. Personally, I think there are a lot of things that I value and believe because other people do, and I intend to try to figure out the reason I agree with these things, and if I don’t have one, then clearly I have things in my life that I need to re-evaluate.
Thank you for sharing this story. It really challenges me to assess the way I live, even in the small things. I agree with you that the only “sure thing” in life, is ironically, on the other side of death. The hope which I hold on to, is more than a personal savior or get-out-of-hell card. It is something transformative, that has altered my heart and therefore should alter the way I live. Without an acute level of self-awareness, I can guarantee you I am missing opportunities to share with others! My mom never had the chance to speak to her dad about the only “sure thing” before he died of a heart attack 30 years ago, and she has since always regretted not opening up sooner.
This story reminds me of the simple phrase, you don’t know what you have until it is gone. I think everyone can easily think of a situation where this applies. This is an unfortunate story, yet this may be what it takes sometimes for people to realize what they truly have and a lesson learned is a positive return from an unfortunate happening. If we don’t experience disappointment or discomfort in life, we will always be complacent and never see the need to change for the better. Sometimes I have to take a step back from my own life and truly evaluate what I should cherish in this world because I do know that nothing is certain. A major part of life is about creating relationships and making that bond to share your life with another person. I believe these relationships are what we would miss the most if we lose them and there are not many other earthly items can compare.
As William Wallace says in the movie Braveheart, “All men die, but few men truly live.” Death is inevitable, but life is definitely not a sure thing. Even though William/Mel was talking about fighting for freedom, I apply this quote to my life in a much different way.
I feel like many people in Texas claim to be Christian, but only few actually seek after God. I don’t blame anyone because most people grow up going to church with their families. Their parents tell them they are Christian, and even though they don’t really know who Christ is, they start to believe in the title ‘Christian’ they are assigned. I think that there would be a lot fewer people claiming to be Christian if their parents were not Christians. Maybe I’m just overly critical, but it seems that when it comes to priorities, many professing Christians would say God is their first, but in practice he is not. The life Christ has called us to is a complete devotion to him and a sacrifice of our own desires to live the life he has called us to. When I hear people tell me they go to church on Sunday and go get drunk on Thursday, Friday, Saturday (not that drinking is a sin), I am less inclined to believe they are truly living out their faith. Especially because Christ speaks out against people who pretend to be religious, but only do it for show. If you are truly a believer in Christ, you can’t say I give 50% of myself to God, 20% to my family, 20% to my friends, and 10% to school. It’s 100% to Christ and every thing else is lived out through this complete devotion. I go to school for Christ’s sake, I love my family for Christ’s sake, and I love my friends for Christ’s sake. If something in my life isn’t glorifying to God, then it doesn’t belong in my life (and let me tell you, I am far from perfect, and there are many of these things).
Maybe this is a crazy tangent from the “sure thing” conversation, but I feel like the only sure thing I have in life is God. This was on my heart, so I’d thought I’d share.
â€œAll of us who knew him were aware that great success was inevitable.â€
I believe the only true judge of a person’s success is the individual themselves. To say that someone has all the qualities to become wealthy, powerful, and/or influential does not necessarily mean they have the qualities to be successful. Those qualities are a perceived perspective of success by others. One of my principles is to not have fear of being myself. My success will be found in my own ability to find the things I covet and honor them. They will not be altered by what others believe I should covet. In my opinion this meets an implied perspective of success by Dr. Shaub in the article.
When you talked about the idea ofnothing being guaranteed in life it really touched me. Things happen everyday in life that can cause a small change in your life or a huge one, and a lot of these things no one sees coming. We have all been blessed to attend the business school at A&M but this was never guaranteed to us, we had to work hard to get here. You have to appreciate the things that you have in life because before you know it they can be gone. At the end of last semester my younger sister who was living with me got hit by a car and was unconscious and in the hosptial for a while, and it really put things into perspective for me and taught me to appreciate all the things that I have in my life and to strive to maintain that appreciation for everything throughout my lifetime.
“Life passes most people by while they are making grand plans for it”
I enjoyed your blog post, and feel that it makes all of us take a second look at how we view our own lives. It is only human nature for us to focus primarily on the present, not looking to far in to the future. It is because of this that we can sometimes lose focus on the things that are important: family, faith, and happiness. I think it is important to take from this blog that none of us are guaranteed a certain path or future. We must all work to certain goals we have for ourselves, but we will always face situations which will take us off the “path” we have set for ourselves. It is in these times we must remember those things which are important, and learn to move on, not look back.
I agree with lew2010 (comment 78) that Joe Lawton’s comment (#58) is a significant one. I have responded in private e-mail conversation with Joe on these issues, but I would be happy to share my views on his questions in whatever forum is appropriate, here or at coffee on Wednesday. I just don’t want to add a long comment that stymies the discussion. You guys are doing a great job carrying the ball.
I thought of the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians, chapter 2 verse 20 ” I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” I am really thankful for my live, for all the blessings that I have been given and everything that I have accomplished even if it does seem accidental. The abilities we have have all been given to us and I believe that it is our responsibility to use those gifts and to always be thankful and humble to where they came from.
It always scares to me to think about how much I take the people in my life for granted. I find it sad that it normally takes shattering news to remind me of this. My life has been blessed with so much happiness and I have my family and friends to thank for that. I believe that you should always live each day like it’s your last. Tell the people around you how much they mean to you while you still can.
No one ever wants to face losing someone close to them, maybe a family member or a close friend. Unfortunately, when someone passes we go through the should have’s. I should have done this or that. Something that I learned several years ago was to tell the people in your life how you feel about them, especially the ones you loved. My parents and I don’t get off the phone with each other without saying â€œI love you.â€ You can never be sure when you will get to see that person again and they should know how you feel. I do not regret wanting to have said something to a person and no longer cannot. Like the other blog says, nothing is a sure thing.
I recall last Christmas when I lost a close fraternity brother of mine in a boating accident. He was always the life of the party and the person everyone would rely on to have a good time. I still remember what it was like hanging out with him and it is tough to realize that he is no longer here. However it does remind me that I have to make each day count and that not everything is guaranteed for the rest of my life. You need to live the life you want to live starting today in order to make the best of the short time you have here.
I am not sure that I took away the message you intended to portray in this blog. The entire time I was reading all I could think about was the phone call I received from my Mother this past weekend telling me that a very close friend of our family was told that he has two weeks to live. What really stood out to me was when you wrote â€œsuccess and happiness in this life are never guaranteed,â€ which is something I forget, a lot. I have been very fortunate and blessed throughout my life, thus, news like this is very hard for me to handle. However, right now, before it’s too late I am going to make sure to tell my friend how much I love him and how thankful I am that he was put into my family’s life.
First, thank you Dr. Shaub for sharing your personal story. Although I can’t tell any stories about someone close to me passing on and have not experienced in this situation, I will attempt to relate my thoughts on the subject. Success can’t be measured externally. I see a high level of trust and admiration for the subject in this blog post. I think Dr. Shaub first sees some level of incompletion in his friends progress as a success in life, but with his last sentence realizes it is not up to him to judge. It is clear Dr. Shaub has such respect for this person that he places trust in the idea that his friend was living by his own guidelines. That is ultimate determination of success, and only be measured internally.
This story has touched so many. I will continue the list. Reading some of the comments of loss, I thought of the loss of my aunt. She died in a car accident almost 5 years ago. But more than the loss, I’ve been thinking about her daughter, my cousin. She is a year older than I am and is getting married this summer. She was a senior in high school when her mom was taken from her. I attended one of her wedding showers this weekend, and there was a void in the room that no one wanted to talk about. As she took pictures with different members of the family, I couldn’t help but have tears in my eyes. Her mom should be there.
This is yet another reminder that there really isn’t a sure thing. Most girls dream of their mom helping them get ready for their wedding or their dad walking them down the aisle. No one thinks that when that day comes there will be an absence. I guess I have learned through that to be more grateful for the many blessings in my life and not take them for granted. You never know when you could lose them.
Its so easy to get caught up in our “to do list” of life that we often forget to appreciate the true happiness and blessings that God provides us along our journey. Life isn’t a sure thing and most often than not things will not go according to our plan, but I do believe that things will happen when the time is right and they happen for a reason. Its a tragic story to hear about your friend and his unmet expectations. There are many who can relate to those unanswered questions or those unsaid goodbyes, and this story has reminded me that what I put off today might not get done tomorrow. We never know when that day will come and until then I will continue to hold close to what truly brings me happiness; my family, friends and faith.
Too often we let an “I love you” go unsaid. It is so easy to say and takes one second, yet it is so powerful. One of my middle school football coaches told our team to make sure we ended every conversation or interaction with a loved one with “I love you” because you never know when your next chance to tell them will be. From then on, I have tried to make the people in my life know how I feel about them as often as possible and to always end my conversations with loved ones with “I love you”. We all have to cherish the time we have with others and recognize that each moment is a gift.
Life is a fragile thing. We all will have to deal with the mortality of someone we are close with i we haven’t already. I have been a lifeguard for several summers and have jumped in a few times to help children who could not swim. Not until I was about 19 years old had I realized the potential impact of what I was doing (and I had been one since I was 15). I had always stayed vigilant, but I had never taken the time to fully comprehend what I was doing.
Life can be lost so quickly, whether it be in the pool or by some unfortunate health condition. We must cherish every moment we have with eachother, because it can end so quickly.
A very touching story and it makes me think back of the many funerals I have attended. My first friend I ever met in elementary school remained one of my closest friends throughout high school. Overtime, our friendship drifted apart as we attended different colleges and hung out with different people. I would describe him as being happy, very social, and intent on going to medical school. At the age of twenty, he hung himself from the staircase railing of his home. It was one of the most shocking and depressing moments in my life and still to this day I have no clue why he did it. Life can be unpredictable at times and we should really cherish our friendships because you never know when you could lose a loved one.
It is pretty ironic about the life; I have no doubt about that. Often times, there are situation where hard-working one gets some kind of punishment and the other side got rewarded. This sometimes raises the question whether GOD does exist or he couldn’t wait to be with them so he took those ones with him at the earliest opportunity.I don’t think I can recall any funeral memories since I never really attended one except when I was like 4 or 5, which I do not recall at all.
I believe these tragic events happened to those innocents are very sad, however we should move on. I did not mean to forget about those individuals, but we need to move on without looking back in order to honor his or her legacy….by living our life the fullest we can.
This story reminds me of one my best friend in as well. He was my next door neighbor and the first friend I had when I moved to where I would grow up in the 3rd grade. For the next six years we would learn and grow from each other being that we knew we could confide in each other. Everyone knew that if they saw one of us out, the other was soon to follow. It was my junior year that our paths took very separate routes. I decided to focus my extra time on school and he began to focus his extra time on detrimental activities. He was arrested a year later and sentenced to five years in prison. Looking back I felt as though I could have played a more positive role in his life by expressing how much his friendship mint to me but now it’s too late. After reflecting I’ve realized how important it is to cherish the things we have and tell others how much they mean to us no matter how hard it’s to express these emotions.
Isn’t it funny how it can take someone’s death to make us realize how important and precious our own is? Often times we, me included, take for granted our healthy lives. Just this past winter, my mom’s best friend died of leukemia. She had been battling the cancer for about 12 years and somehow kept the most amazing attitude and strongest faith of anyone around her for the entire time. For the past year of her life, she kept a journal of her daily activities and devotionals to God. These writings were so moving and powerful that they were soon published after her passing. Though she is physically gone from this world, she still guides me and many others through her writings.
This is sad, I didn’t know.
I love the comment you made in the blog regarding “that the only sure things are on the other side of death, of a hope both sure and secure”. This beautiful statement exemplifies how we can go on living our life with passion in this sinful world – because we are at peace knowing the sureness and security of our life in paradise after death.
In my short 21 years alive, I have had many heartaches and many times that I feel God has laughed at my plans as His plans proceed to take over. When I was 15 one of my best friends passed away due to staph in his lungs. This was a turning point in my life. I was raised in a strong Christian home, but would classify my relationship with God at that point as a “Sunday Fling”. After my friend passed away, and knowing how strong he was in his relationship with Christ, it made me also want to model my life in that way. I now have peace and a heart full of love because of that which is given to me.
Just this past weekend one of my dear friends lost her baby sister in a tragic car accident. As I was sitting at the family’s house that afternoon, I was in complete awe at the faith my friend and her parents were displaying. Instead of asking “Why?” and being angry with God, they were reminiscing on when their baby girl was alive and thankful for the time they were given. Their faith in God is what is giving them the peace to get up in the morning and continue living. They know that their baby was given to them by God to raise in a Christian home and help cultivate into an adult – while knowing that she is a child of God, and only here for a temporary amount of time.
I am so thankful to personally know the “One who guarantees real success”, so that I too can live with a sense of peace about life after death.