Last Saturday, my husband and I went to the funeral of our friend and high school classmate. I'd known the guy since the 6th grade. He and my husband became friends in 12th grade when my husband transferred to our high school. I remembered him as unassuming and a little goofy. He was often on the sidelines, but thinking back to high school, he was a friend to everyone. He was genuinely a nice guy.
A funny story about our friend: he inadvertently invited himself to Dan and my first date in college. We had already been interrupted three other times by other people (who were harassing Dan about taking a girl out), and just when Dan and I started to talk about "us," our friend saw us from across the restaurant and headed our way with a Monster in hand. He pulled up a chair to our two-seater and started talking with us. We thought he was going to leave, but he had ordered a cup of coffee and a mint chocolate chip bowl of ice cream. I remember he kept telling us that he really had to go to the library before it closed to do his paper, but then it didn't matter because he was going to be staying up late anyways. He finally figured out that he crashed our date and left. Whether or not he went to the library, I don't know.
In the last couple of years, our paths crossed a few times as we would stop by the store he worked at. We always tried to make it a point to say hi and talk to him. Actually, a few months ago, he helped us load our deep freezer into our SUV. I think that was the last time I saw and talked to him. He was still the same carefree, easygoing guy I knew in high school.
Walking into that funeral home was the hardest thing to do. I had been so shocked to hear he had passed, but when I saw the casket, I couldn't look at it. I couldn't look at the slideshow of pictures. It was just too much for me. As I spoke to his parents, my heart broke for them. I know our friend is in heaven, and I know that he will no longer suffer, but it still wasn't easy. How could someone I know from childhood, especially someone so young, pass away? I think that's what has gotten to me most. You never think that it could happen to someone you know, especially when we are all still in our twenties.
Our pastor actually spoke on this message the day before our friend died. I had missed the service due to a migraine, but the pastor said that when we've completed our purpose here on earth, that's when God calls us home. Our friend's purpose was fulfilled here on earth. He made people laugh and was a friend to all. And right now, because of his untimely passing, I can say that I now have a new perspective on life.
We aren't promised tomorrow. I've always been an impatient planner. I want the latest and greatest. The next event. The next milestone. The next, next, next. I've been so consumed with the next steps. But, through the events of last week, God has shown me to slow down. To enjoy the moments I have with my husband and daughter. To cherish the time I have with my parents. To take advantage of the friendships I have and to let my friends know I appreciate them. To put down the phone and talk to people and make those true heartfelt connections. To be kind to strangers. To forgive and release. To live life intentionally. To live for Him today. To love Him more today.
Life is too short to live with regret.
Make the most of today and live.