This may sound downright morbid but more often than not I wonder, “What if this is my last?”
When my youngest makes sure to hold my hand as tightly as possible while we walk through the aisles of a grocery store, I take notice of the softness, the smallness, and choke at the thought that this could be my last moment with her.
When I watch and listen to my oldest reading out loud in her pj’s, freshly showered, ready for bed, I take notice of the way she tucks a lock of blond hair behind her ear, the way she slightly tilts her head, and when I tell her how proud I am, she smiles from ear to ear and I pretty much come undone.
For I absolutely cannot process the idea of how this quiet night with her is all I get.
To hear her voice. To watch her beam.
We all know the classic saying, right? Tomorrow isn’t promised.
We all quote it like we know what we’re talking about.
However, let’s be honest.
While we toss profound passages and excerpts left and right about how life is a gift, our heads are way too buried in piles of stuff to even genuinely grasp the fact that we are a vapor!
In a way, it has all become cheap talk . . . . . . .
I want to share with you a dream I had about a month ago.
A nightmare of epic proportions that injected a good dose of awareness into my heart.
Even now, just thinking about it, it gets me all emotional.
I was in charge of some kind of event. Basically, running all over the place.
At a beautiful home by the water with a long dock that led straight to the lake.
My girls and many other children were swimming.
And I remember having this feeling to go check on them.
As I was walking, I noticed my oldest swimming towards the dock.
When I got closer, I saw my youngest floating face down, right beside her.
At that point, I started running and it seemed like my legs couldn’t carry me fast enough.
Questions like “How did this happen?!” and “How long has she been floating?!” were escaping my mouth as I frantically tried to pull my 4 year old out of the water.
My mind couldn’t wrap around what was before me.
She was wearing floaters!
What went wrong?! Where was my husband?! He said he was going to keep an eye!
A part of me was hoping she simply fell asleep but as I laid her lifeless body on the dock and saw her blue lips, a horrid pain struck my gut and oh how it hurt!
With my whole body shaking, I pumped her chest, I breathed air into that tiny, cold mouth of hers, all the while wailing “no God, no, no! Please don’t let this be!”
I kept pumping. I kept breathing in. I kept begging God to intervene!
I heard footsteps ricocheting off the dock. I heard shouting in the distance. I felt someone try to pull me away.
Then paramedics cut in.
A blur of people were asking questions, were trying to get my attention.
Yet all I wanted to hear was that my baby was breathing, that my baby was alive.
I wanted one of the paramedics to look at me and utter those precious words.
She is ALIVE!
But their heads dropped. One of them looked away.
And I completely lost it!
I literally roared! Like a lioness.
I released a turbulent roar, again and again, full of anguish and despair.
It had the ground shaking, had the people stand back and gape.
Then my eyes opened and for a moment I couldn’t understand where I was.
I was trying to catch my breath.
When it dawned on me that I was in my bed, I went to check on my little girl.
She was there. In sweet, deep sleep. Snuggled like a little cuddle bear.
So I knelt beside her, placed her silky little hand in mine and it felt like a second chance.
The feeling was indescribable.
All I could do was weep!
I mean . . . . what else was there to do?
Unfortunately, for many out there, a story like this is a real-life nightmare.
I read and I hear about the tragedies.
Mothers and fathers losing their precious angels.
From accidents. Disasters.
A reminder that we are not invincible, that we are not exempt from pain.
And it brings out the loud cry in me.
Because I fear losing my daughters.
I terribly ache for the parents who are suffering a loss right this very moment, who are roaring with anguish.
A part of me, in a weird way, can understand what that would feel like . . . . .
Even though I am well aware of just how instantly everything can change, I also quickly forget.
In the midst of packing lunches, looking for missing socks, and stepping on a pink lego, I forget.
I run my mouth like a fool or get upset about meaningless stuff and wound my children with my ugliness.
I think that’s the problem. Is that each and every one of us forgets.
Thing is, I want the truth of James 4:14 weaved into every fiber of my being.
I want nothing to do with cheap talk.
I really do want to live out each day with stark awareness of who I am.
Who my husband is. Who our daughters are.
Here for only a little while . . . .
And that nightmare shook me! I needed that shaking!
We all need it here and there.
It snaps us out of our foolishness, our arrogance, our self-reliance, our ingratitude.
Fuels us with a desire to not only pursue and love on those who matter to us but also on those who are facing battles we can’t even imagine.
I’m telling you, I’m telling myself, may the truth of James 4:14 keep us in check at all times.