The Circle of Life...

I'm not by nature an introspective guy. Deep thinking about life issues does not come natural to me, so I don't usually notice the profound things of life, or think "deep thoughts" about the human experience. But every once in a while I have one of those surreal moments when life experiences pop out of the ordinary realm for me and cause me to think about things in a different way. This week I had one of those surreal moments.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kari and I traveled with my brother and his fiancee to Frederick, Oklahoma to attend the funeral of my 87-year-old grandfather. Less than 24 hours later we sat in a hospital room in McKinney, TX and held our new quazi-nephew Ethan Blake Leaver (the son of our close friends here in Texas, Drew and Dawn).
That 24-hour experience was surreal to me. Within one day we experienced first-hand the bookends of life on this earth. Late in the afternoon of one day we looked at the body of one who finished the race. Early in the morning of the next day, we held one who is only just beginning. And, (hold your breath), I think I had a profound thought or two.
1. Life is fragile - I've never been one for an open-casket funeral. In fact, I told Kari I wanted to be buried totally nude just to ensure that nobody opens the casket at my funeral. But my Grandfather's casket was open as we filed out of the service, and I remembered how frail he has looked the majority of my life. Then, as I sat in the hospital bed and held Ethan Blake for the first time, I couldn't help but notice how fragile he is in a completely different way. You know, I don't think frailty is something we grow out of and back in to - it's just something we learn to mask in different ways. We're all frail, fragile people, and without the constant and consistent provision of an all-powerful God we would be but dust.
2. Life is short - 87 years is a long time to live, but it isn't that long at all when compared to eternity. God gives us a relatively short amount of time on this earth. Ethan is lucky - he's still got 87 or so to go. If I live to be 87, I've got a little more than 50 years left to invest in the things that will last forever. It's not worth simply investing my life in the things that will last beyond me - I'll have to leave those things to my kids, and they'll probably squander most of it like everyone else's kids. I've got roughly 50 years to make an eternal difference. I don't know about you, but that gets my blood pumping. Limited time, maximum influence.
3. God still does miracles - Sunday morning, my grandfather stood face-to-face with the all-powerful, holy, majestic God of the universe. He was completely whole, and had no lingering effects from the hip surgery and strokes that caused the end of his time on earth. He isn't dead - he's more alive than he ever was here. Saturday night he was unresponsive on a hospital bed, Sunday morning he was singing, dancing, and enjoying every moment of life. Tell me that's not a miracle. Similarly, on Monday evening a brand new life emerged into the world. A new person was born who was created in the image of God. Monday morning, I couldn't hold him (well, I could have, but Drew would have been mad). Tuesday morning, there he was.
Okay, maybe they're not the most profound thoughts in the world, but they sure stood out to me this week. God is still working in our world. He's still working in our lives. Sometimes we wonder, because the things He does in our lives don't always seem as obvious as they do in a funeral home, or a maternity ward at a hospital. But He's there, and He's working. And that means no matter on what side of life we find ourselves - at a wake or at a birthday - we can trust Him.