I went to see a friend yesterday. We’re the same age. She has recently learned that she’s terminally ill. A few months ago, we were talking and laughing, sharing recipes and political views and news about our grown children. Life was good!
Then she had a visit with her doctor – a “routine” appointment, nothing out of the ordinary. But, sadly, this ordinary visit turned out badly! An abnormality reared its ugly head, and the testing began: a blood test, MRI, X-rays and numerous other analyses were done. After evaluations by countless specialists, a diagnosis was reached and it was determined that she had only six months, at best, to live. Devastating!
She plummeted from 140 pounds to a slight 96 very quickly. It was difficult for me to look at her without tears clouding my eyes. Her once beautiful face is now gray and drawn; the two vertical lines between her eyes appear to be chiseled in stone. How cruel illness becomes as it ravages the human body!
Today, as I was thinking about my friend and pondering life's fragility, a sleeping memory awakened: six of my female acquaintances passed away in the past five years. All were within five years of my age. From some secluded corner of my mind, came this reflection: The River of Life flows on forever and ever, but for some, the destination comes sooner than others. Like the other six, my friend has almost reached her destination. Suddenly, I felt anxious and more than a little vulnerable.
And then, my grandson, sixteen, made an intense statement. At first, I thought he was kidding and laughed, but then realized he was serious and that his quote may have merit. He said: “The only thing I dislike about my life is that I can’t control what happens.”
And just like that! I was grounded again. Of course none of us can control what happens in our lives. We aren’t supposed to. We must trust that God is in control and strive to live life to the fullest – one day at a time – forgetting about the destination and concentrating on the journey.
May we all learn to enjoy the journey before it's too late!