I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, and admidst the typical pictures of people’s kids, food, and dogs, admidst the political rants, and invites to join Lularoe parties, one post stood out.
The post was written by a friend of mine who was at a conference. I don’t remember word for word what her Faceboook status said, but the gist of it was “please be praying. A woman who is at this conference with me just got word from home that her teenage daughter has been involved in a serious car accident”. The woman mentioned in the post was then tagged, and I found myself clicking onto her page (yes, that’s called “creeping” and/or “stalking”.).
I wish I hadn’t, but I’m glad I did.
I wish I hadn’t, because her daughter died in that wreck, and although I do not even KNOW this woman, an unshakeable sadness settled over me, as I continued to read through her heartbreaking posts.
The progression of her posts went something like this (these are reworded, as remember, I do know even know this person, and am just trying to convey her overall content):
“On my way to conference with a few of my best friends. We are so excited!” (Group selfie)
“Please be praying for my family. Just received a phone call that there has been an emergency back at home”
“Please be praying for my daughter. She has been involved in a terrible car accident, and is in ICU”
“My heart is broken, as I share the news with our friends and family that our daughter has gone to be with Jesus. WE HAD NO IDEA OUR TIME WITH HER WOULD BE SO SHORT”.
I cried then, and I’m crying again now, as I write that. “We had no idea our time with her would be so short”.
It got me thinking, and gosh, I HATE thinking about sad things. To probably an unhealthy degree, I try to stay in “Hayley’s Happy Bubble”, and not contemplate all those “icky sad things in life”.
But my mind took off that day, and maybe it wasn’t down a good path…maybe it was TOO morbid, TOO dismal. Anxiety-inducing “what-ifs” are never a good idea for me (or anyone, i suppose), but in this one case, I felt like this “what-if” line of thinking was beneficial, and this is the reason I’m glad I stumbled upon her Facebook page.
I started thinking, this lady “had no idea her time with her daughter would be so short”. What if she HAD known, though? I wouldn’t wish that upon her….I would certainly not wish that upon myself…but I sure as hell bet that she would have viewed her time with her child differently, if she had. Actually, I can’t speak for her. I’m nothing more than her weird Facebook creeper.
I can speak for myself though.
If I knew that any of my three sons, at 16 years old, was going to die in a car accident, you can bet your arse I would do life a lot differently.
If I knew that January 20th, 2026 would be the last day of my older son’s life on this earth, you can bet your bottom dollar that on February 28th, 2017, I wouldn’t sigh and drag my feet on my way outside to go play Star Wars with him, checking text messages a few times in the midst of it.
If I knew that January 20th, 2030 would be the last day of my middle son’s life on this earth, you can be certain that on February 28th, 2017, I wouldn’t shout when he spilled his milk all over the kitchen floor, even THOUGH I had told him he could not have milk to begin with. I would kiss him, say “no big deal, it’s just milk!”, and be infinitely thankful that I have a happy, healthy, milk-guzzling 3 year old TO spill milk.
If I knew that January 20th, 2032 would be my youngest son’s last day on earth, I can promise you, absolutely promise you, that when he clung to my legs and cried all morning, as I was trying to get dressed and out the door, I woudn’t have said to him, “I cannot hold you right now!! Let go of my legs!!”. Nope. I would have scooped him right up and cuddled him, and probably even said, “why do I need to go somewhere, ANYWAY? I don’t.”
If I knew ahead of time that that is what the future held for any of my boys, I would spend my time sitting, cherishing, and being present. I would spend my time laughing off the stuff that doesn’t matter, and making the most of the stuff that does.
Look, it isn’t healthy to spend too much time contemplating these things. You can’t spend every day mulling over potential catastrophes that VERY LIKELY WILL NEVER HAPPEN. (Read that sentence again, fellow worriers, and what-iffers). That’s no way to live. God is in control, God is good, and God can be trusted with our futures.
You also can’t beat yourself up over every time you aren’t the perfect parent…all those times you DO get annoyed, lose your temper, aren’t as present as you should be. You aren’t perfect. You’re gonna mess up some things.
The future isn’t guaranteed. Time is fleeting. Moments and opportunities go by.
Make the very most of the time you have, with the people you love.
Live the way you would live if you DID know that your time with them was short….not because it necesssarily is, but because you will probably find it’s a much better way to live.