I took my kids to town yesterday morning for quality time. Most of the conversation with Talia & Kyla was around the death of Beth a friend of ours from church who died of cancer on Saturday Morning. It seems like an odd conversation to have with your 4 & 6 year olds, but the purity and innocence of their questions is always so stimulating. Answering them in real and understandable ways stretches me, as so often there questions are not about how, or where, but why? Providence is not an answer that kids just accept. To be honest like my kids I struggle with the physical side of death. Not being able to spot that person in a crowd, or shake their hand or talk to them, and this is for people that I don't know intimately. I have yet to lose someone really close to me, and I can't imagine how Phil and his kids feel, not being able to hold or love Beth again.
Last night we decided to have takeaways in the car, down by the Waikato River. It is NZ's longest and only north flowing river. It flows at around 3 – 4 kph, which means you have to paddle faster and harder than 4 kph to go upstream. It was kind of a weird evening, dusk was hastened by the dark clouds that promised an imminent flow of millions of waterfalls from the sky. As we watched, a canoeist paddled swiftly down the river, he to would have known the rain was coming but I suspect he didn't care. I got to thinking that I have long thought about canoeing down the river. You will notice I said down, canoeing up would simply take all the fun out of it. I have not yet had that adventure and I determined to do that this summer.
As I contemplate yesterday, Beth, the kids, providence and the river I am reminded that life is created to be lived not just gotten through. Maybe we shouldn't always be paddling against the current; maybe we should relax more and enjoy the ride. It reminds me that life is more than making money and buying clothes and houses and yummy food, that it is about appreciating creation and adventure and most importantly people.
How many people just go through life, and don't live it. I too, often forget to live. My problems and issues become my focus and I just get through another week. I act as though life is some hard journey where I always have to paddle upstream and forget that my days are numbered and that in a generation or two my name will be consigned to a family tree somewhere.
I resolve for the ten thousandth time to live and to be!