Several days ago, Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham’s wife passed away. I was fortunate to watch some of the public service earlier today. Her life covered a span of 87 years. I listened to different members of her family as they eulogized her life. As one would expect, she created lasting memories and positively impacted other people with her life. I am sad for the family, but happy for Mrs. Graham because she is in a place by grace through faith where there is no more sorrow or pain. Her tears are being wiped away. My Dad passed away on January 10, 2007 (Please read my post, Hello World). Although our family was sad at his passing, we believe he is in a much better place, as is Mrs. Graham.
What struck me as I watched Mrs. Graham’s memorial service was that she gone forever.
People die many times each day. Television shows and movie screens often desensitize us to the finality of death. Reality does not seem to sink in until someone close to us dies. That is what happened to me after my Dad died. I was reminded — with stark reality — that life does indeed end. Remarkably…we are here on this earth for an appointed amount of time and then we are no more. Memories live on in our families and close friends, but for many more we are only an obituary in the local newspaper. The time we had been given will be swallowed by eternity. When death comes, our light will be extinguished. We will be no more. Our appointed time will end and the dash between the date we were born and the date that we died will be filled in forever. Our ability to use what had been given to us will end.
My point is that our time is precious. Therefore we need be diligent to be who we are. No substitute will do. We must guard ourselves from the lie that our presence does not matter. You may have a traumatic brain injury, some other type of disability or may have been the victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. You may have people in your life that want to keep you dependent upon them. You may have made significant mistakes during your lifetime that have kept you trapped by guilt and shame. The good news is that those circumstances do not have to prevent you from using your gifts, talents and abilities. You and I were created to fulfill our destinies. We are competent. We can find solutions. Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but to build us up.
As we use our gifts, talents and abilities we will leave behind a lasting tribute to a life well lived.
I would encourage you, as I need to encourage myself, do not be lulled into believing that your life does not matter. You are precious and very valuable. Your presence is more than needed. What you bring to the table of life brings hope to many individuals. You are beautifully you. You are a bright and shinning star. Allow the magnificence of your life to shine brightly in a world that desperately needs your essence. Be encouraged my friends. You are a gift to your world.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me”. Erma Bombeck
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