Friday, April 24, 2015

Live with Purpose, Live with Love.

My Nana and Papa were married for 65 years before my Nana passed away.  When people asked them what their secret to such a long marriage was, they responded with an answer I think we have all heard many times...never go to bed without giving the other a kiss and saying “I love you.”

I had always chalked this response up as cliche and almost said in jest because there isn’t really one attribute that can pinpoint a successful marriage.  However, recently I’m taking this lesson much more seriously.

This week, hearts all over the Eagle Nation, Georgia Southern alma mater,  are heavy as we lost five beautiful nursing students who were on their way to their last clinical rotation of the semester in a horrific multi-vehicle car accident. As social media and traditional media outlets alike have been flooded with prayers, thoughts, condolences and support from all over the country, I can’t help but feel somber despite never having had the pleasure of meeting these women.

The older I get, the more often I’m experiencing death around me. Concurrently, my view on human existence, the relationships we develop and the responsibility we have while on this Earth is changing.

Earlier this year I attended the funeral of my very good friend’s father.  He passed away from a sudden heart attack, shocking not only his family but an entire community in which he and the entire family are very beloved.  Just like that. One minute he is driving with his son and the next, he is dead on a gas station floor.  

This was the fourth funeral I’ve attended in the last seven years for a good friend’s father, three of these being extremely sudden and unexpected.  I can’t help but wonder, what was the last interaction between him and his various loved ones.  My friend for instance; what was the last thing they said to each other? Was it something important like “I Love You,” or perhaps it a silly remark like “yeah okay, whatever, just don’t forget the milk.”

I’ve heard so many times that you should never take those around you for granted and always say what you feel, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  I’ve heard it, and I understand it, but it’s so difficult to put it into practice when you’re in the moment.  Although I know it isn’t true, I often succumb to this sideways mentality that nothing bad like that will happen to me. I think we probably all think like that until it happens.  I’m sure my friend never thought she would lose her father less than a week after she got engaged, but it happened and her life will never be the same. I’m sure it failed to cross the minds of those 5 nursing students that they might never get to celebrate the end of their clinicals, but it happened and the lives of their friends and families will never be the same.

It truly makes me afraid. It makes me afraid that someone I love will be taken away from me before what we would consider to be “their time.”  It makes me afraid that I will be taken away from those who love me, leaving them hurting and upset, which, if we’re being honest, is a thought that makes me cry if I focus on it too long.  This fear isn’t always in the forethought of my mind, but it makes me try hard to say “I love you” to my husband, my close friends and my family when I say goodbye to them on the phone, in person or via text.  It may make me seem sappy at times, but I never want to live with the regret that my last words weren’t important enough.

Though we try to be in control, God truly has his own plan for each of us and the timing and reasoning behind these tragic events will never be explained to us in this life, so we must live each day with love and purpose. We must do our best to exude love in our most treasured relationships.
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