Seeing Life as Gift
Visiting our old hometown got me to reflecting on the value of life. This is the town in which my wife and I were married; the birthplace of our two daughters and two sons, the youngest of whom celebrated his 43rd birthday this week whilst we were here; it is the place my mother died. Hence it is sacred ground.
Now, sadly we are gathered as family to support a beloved sister, and her loved ones. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, she was told she has only a few weeks to live. When originally diagnosed, she was given six months to live. That was 25 years ago. Since then, she has witnessed the birth and growth of grandchildren and great grandchildren, treasuring every moment of her life. She believes that life is worth living and she has lived her life well. God’s healing hand and grace has been with her throughout. Cancer though, is an insidious disease that attacked her not once, but three times. The doctors say they can do no more. Go home, they told her, and prepare. With marvelous dignity, grace and an amazing attitude my sister Claire is preparing.
We’ve shared childhood memories, life experiences and told jokes. We’ve laughed, cried, partaken of meals and been silent — together. What a blessing it is to be together as family. Our family is a circle of strength and love and every crisis faced together makes us stronger. It is where life begins and love never ends.
Of course, while there is life there is always hope. And heaven is being bombarded by prayers, even by people my sister does not know. There are silver linings even in times of adversity – if only we take the time to look for them and give our full trust to God and allow God to transform us.
St Paul encourages us: “… let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope, and a hope which will not let us down, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.’[Romans 5: 3-5]
Life is such a precious gift. Life is often compared to a roller-coaster ride – ups and downs, with twists and turns along the way. And yet life is a gift, a precious gift, an amazing gift. We are called first to accept the gift of life that God gives us, then to praise God joyfully for the gift. God graciously creates, sustains and cares for life at every stage.
Another word for gift is “present” – which always reminds me to live in the present moment, one day at a time. To be concerned about our lives in the here and now means living fully in the present moment, knowing full well that the future is in God’s capable hands. Though we don’t know what the future holds, we know who holds the future, that’s motivation enough.
Each day we live is a gift; our loved ones are gifts from God; the talents, skills and opportunities we are given in life are gifts. The rising sun, the setting sun, the stars and moon at night, the birds that sing, the dogs and cats at play, butterflies, the beauty of flowers, the green grass, the food we eat – everything is gift if we just look for it. It is possible to find something to be grateful for in every situation – even when facing death.
Life is a gift … one we should not waste. Each day is a new day that’s never been lived before. Life is wonderful – full of joy and laughter. We reach for the stars. We dream of the infinite. We have God’s breath in our lungs and God’s love in our hearts. God is with us all the way. By trusting in God we will be led through all the phases of transformation into the Light.
God created man in the image of himself… male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply …. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good. [Genesis 1:27-28 & 31]
As a thought of God, a heartbeat of God, with infinite value, we are made in the image of God who saw that all was very good. Never forget how much we do matter to God, how precious life is. May we accept our lives as the gift of God and know that in that gift there is also hardship. But God is always with us … every step of the way.
Have a golden day and treasure Life!