I'd never met him, but his name began popping up all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
He was the worship leader at a large nearby church. A husband. A father to two young sons and a young daughter. And yesterday morning he went out for a bicycle ride and never returned home.
The day before Thanksgiving? WHY? I wondered. Surely he and his family had plans of how they would spend the day of gratitude. Maybe they were going to attempt the madness of Black Friday shopping. They had just posted a picture of their children decorating the Christmas tree.He'd posted on his blog two days ago. Tweets and Instagram posts just hours before his accident. Just normal LIFE, you know?
And now he is in Heaven. Absent from body, present with God.
I'm shaken, although I never knew him. I'm startled by the reminder of the sheer brevity of life, the fragility of what we have here on this earth.
The news of a stranger passing is messing with me. I spent the day yesterday absolutely and inadvertently MISSING the three other ones in this house. Not because I wasn't here or because they weren't right here--(we were all within the same four walls all day)--but becauseI hardly shared a gaze with them while I spent hour upon hour working on Christmas presents for everyone.
Last night I read a bit about thisman who passed away. Someone posted one of the last texts he'd received from this friend--a text full of encouragement and truth from the Word. I looked through picture after picture of time spent with his wife and three little ones. I read of story after story of a life lived on purpose.
I want that. I want to live carefully. And, oh Father God, I want to live on purpose. Your name, Your renown, the desire of my heart. I am crazy in love with Justin and our two sweet babies, but I want to live like I get that our days are numbered. I want them to know I was hungry for them to walk with Jesus, and that I lived my life to build into that for each of them.
I am not here for a laptop or an iPhone or even to knock out a Christmas list. I am here to do the will of the Father--and that so often happens in the context of relationships. With people. Primarily the ones He's entrusted to me.
A stranger changed my Thanksgiving.
Priorities realigned. Perspective renewed.
And if God gives me this entire day, I want to lay my head on the pillow knowing I lived it on purpose.
A few years ago, wehad a book made for Trev in which his smiling face appearson every page. He's the "star" of the book.
When Liley came along, we wanted to make one for her, too. And in Liley's book, we were able to feature Trevor. She would be the star of the book, and he, in this scenario, just a feature. Not the star.
I think we all in various ways desire the former scenario rather than the latter. We like the feel of the role of "star." I mean, do you know anyone who feverishly pursues the back-up roles of life? Me neither. Our flesh rages against the very thing for which we were made, clamoring for ways to "make it about me."
I'm reading Louie Giglio's i am not but i know I AM, and it'scompletely rocking my world as a reminder that I am not the center of the universe--I am simply in on the story of God. I can't not share these words I've been reading aboutour endless pursuits for top billing when that position has forever/already been occupied:
"I'm stating the obvious here--
The story already has a star, and the star is not you, nor me.
And here's why it matters:
If we don't get the story straight, everything else in our lives will be out of sync.
We'll spend our days trying to hijack the story of God, turning it into the story of *us*--
Calling the shots ourselves, me-centered thinking will dictate every move we make and how we feel. And in the end, when the last clap is clapped for our tiny tale, our story will fade to black... a pitiful return on our one-shot chance called "life here on earth."
It's something that requires a constant choice. We can choose to cling to starring roles in the little-bitty stories of *us* -- or we can exchange our fleeting moment in the spotlight for a supporting role in the eternally beautiful epic that is the story of GOD."
Seriously, this truth is challenging my life...day-to-day, hour-to-hour, whatI think, say, do, tweet, whatever. Sure, I forget sometimes. I still find myself trying todo the whole "All eyes on me!" thing. I forget the star spot has been perfectly filled, thank you. But having this truth before me? It is changing me. And if you're a parent--We do our children a grave disservice to allow them to believe that it's all about them. I admit I started out this way a bit when my first child was born, and then began to see both my children in their right places when my second child was born. There was something about the second child's arrival that gave some perspective that they were both part of the thing, but not THE thing. When we lead our little ones to believe that they are the stars of the story, we are setting them up for a lifetime of this thing of trying to "hijack the story of God, turning it into the story of *us*," because that notion is an all-too-comfortable fit for them. Instead, what if from early on, this was what we communicated to these little ones about where they fit into the grand story?
"How can they NOT think the story is all about them? After all, isn't that what we are saying a lot of the time to kids these days from the second they are born?
But what they really need to hear from us is,
'We love you SO much and we are SO excited you are here.
WELCOME TO THE STORY THAT IS ALREADY IN PROGRESS.'"
My word. What if we set up our kids to know they're not the stars, not because they don't matter--far from it!--but ratherbecause they've been made to be in on the story--an integral, beautiful, masterfully and wonderfullycreated part of the story of God?When we take them off the thrones it is most certainly no demotion. What a privilege to be made for the story! We are walking in a HIGHcalling. Our children are walking in a HIGH calling.Taking our rightful places is no "lesser" thing. What could be grander than to be featured in the story of God? And as this soaks into my own soul, I'm in turn telling my children how they were made for the story of God--that they were purposely created and uniquely gifted to be in on the story in which God is on the throne.
What. A. Privilege.
Oh, and the name of the company who makes those books in which Trev was the star? "Make It About Me."