And how precious it is.
Photo by Jung Ho Park on Unsplash
The thing about life (and this isn’t a political argument) is that it’s precious—all of it.
Understanding that every single person is not precious to someone, and that’s one of the greatest tragedies of our existence, I still stand by my statement. All life IS precious, and it’s because of love, and it’s a deep, shameful mark on our society when we don’t have enough of the emotion to REALIZE how extraordinarily special life is.
I’ve often wondered, and surely I’m not alone in this, why some people live to be in their nineties and beyond and others die before any promise of life here on earth can be fulfilled. I wonder also why some people seemingly beat death just to find it lurking around a different corner. Nothing seems fair on this earth, because nothing really is.
Maybe, that’s why it’s so easy for some humans to refuse to recognize the absolute joy and beauty of just being alive, and the privilege of being able to share that life with someone else. Somehow something hard and cold slipped into our hearts and did more apparent destruction to those who cannot seem to bring themselves to give in to love than those who can.
What I have learned–and it’s no secret, we all get there sooner or later–is that it’s a risk to love others.
Heartbreak and pain are the price you pay for love; death is the price you pay for life. Some people have just drawn the conclusion that it isn’t worth it to strive for either—love or life.
But those people are wrong.
Love and life are all we have that’s worth anything.
I think about the mothers and fathers who’ve waited for what seems like a lifetime of bad choices and endless sorrow for a chance at normalcy, a chance to bring an infant into the world—a little person to love unconditionally and who will love them back the same way, at least until they reach puberty and learn mom and dad are actually the cause of all the evil in the world.
Especially those who seem hard on the outside because life in its unfairness has knocked them off their feet over and over! Those are the ones who make my heart hurt the most. I know them like I know myself. After all, we share an agenda and a façade.
Anyway, I think about them, and what it’s like to finally allow yourself to hope and believe a dream could come true just to have it destroyed when she miscarries.
Life was precious, and now it’s gone.
Sorrow this deep can’t be explained and there’s no way to make it better. Plans were made that can’t be fulfilled. Clothes were bought which won’t be worn. The child will not learn to play catch or fish or ever go to school, because that life is no more.
Love means there is a huge and devastating price to pay, and payment will be taken out in grief and sorrow.
Losing an infant is hard. Losing a parent is also unbearable, yet most of us eventually do it.
We can’t cheat death and we can’t beat it. It’s easy to shake our fists at God and rail against the unfairness of it all, but even as we do that, we know our time is coming. We all die. It’s the price we pay to live.
And people say stupid things to you too, when you experience a loss. Things that don’t help at all.
“God did not need another angel, and by the way, He didn’t get one either.”
That’s what I wanted to tell people when Mikey died.
The last thing my sixteen-year-old could be accused of is being an angel. On the other hand, that’s exactly the last thing he WAS accused of, and it was as far from the truth as anything I believe I’ve ever heard.
But his story is a story for a different day. He’d be the first one to roll his eyes and prove them wrong anyway, like he did a thousand times on earth.
No, God didn’t need Mikey. Death isn’t something that happens when God “needs” a person to be with Him. God doesn’t need any of us. Death is a flaw in the great plan. It was an unintended consequence of the beautiful design.
I could go into all the reasons, including free will and how perfect love doesn’t exist without it, but I don’t have a million days to convince anyone of the magnitude of God’s love, nor do I understand it all anyway. Here’s what I do know, and see if you can get what I mean to say. I know it in my heart, but I’m not sure I can convey it, even though I really want everyone to understand this.
When I walk outside on a rainy day, I usually don’t like it.
Rain is depressing, cold, and gray.
I like the sunshine, blue skies, green trees, and blooming flowers. I know the rain is necessary for those flowers to grow, and for everything to be boldly green and blue and beautiful.
But a funny thing happens when it rains—it helps me remember why I love the sunshine and appreciate its goodness and warmth.
If it weren’t for the rain, I wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine.
It’s a simple analogy—maybe a little too simple—but I will go a step further.
My first baby died inside of me. Just stopped moving, and there were a million reasons for it, but to me there was only one thing. Hope was gone and I didn’t know how to bring it back. Truth be told, I couldn’t. I don’t dictate life and death and have no control over them. Later, and I mean a LONG TIME later, that helped me with acceptance.
When I got pregnant again, not one movement was ever unnoticed or discounted. When Nic kicked, my heart lifted in joy and relief. And when he was born, even though he was very sick at the time, I found my hope again. It wasn’t hope in Nic. It was hope that there was still goodness in the world, that God was in control, and that love and life were still precious.
Because of my first baby, I made sure to watch every breath my other kids breathed. I sat down with them and played when there were dishes in the sink. We laughed together, learned together, played together, and cried together.
I tried to teach them the things I know about life and how to love people, because they were precious to me. Because of my loss, my life with them was so much bigger than it could’ve been.
If it weren’t for death, I wouldn’t know how precious life is.
I realize everyone is different, and we don’t all see things the same way. But I believe every life is precious, and valuable. Every person has just as much worth as the next person, whether they are rich or homeless, drunk or sober, young or old, sick or healthy.
I said in the beginning this wasn’t political, and it isn’t. I’m not talking about race or political lean, but I will say that one of the hardest things for me to comprehend is how people call out the color of a person’s skin as a determining factor in their value. No matter which part of the color wheel you land on, this isn’t the way God intended it to be. If He valued one over another, He would’ve made us different inside too.
Whatever your heartbreak is, I wish life could be different, but it just isn’t. We’re all going to have to go through hell to get to Heaven. We will all have to know sorrow to experience joy. And we have to hate death to really love life.
Don’t let your sorrow cheat you out of giving all you have to give and loving other people with everything in you.
The only thing that makes this life worth living is the love we give to others and it’s a gift that will remain long after we have breathed our final breath on this earth.