There are times when life lands a 1-2 punch on you. There’s a first punch that hurts you, knocks you off balance, you lose your senses, and your world spins. You’re standing trying to keep your guard up trying to stay standing….because you know if you get hit again in this state, you’re in trouble.
Because the second punch can be deadly.
About 7 years ago, I dated Amanda. She was gentle, warm, beautiful and I had to hang around the coffee booth at Crossroads a few times to get to meet her and a couple more times to have the nerve to ask her out. We dated a while but it didn’t turn out. Over the years, we were in contact on and off. There were times I erased her number from my phone vowing never to call her again…times when she erased mine…only to find a time later that it was in my phone again.
Early 2015 (I think? Late 2014?) she reached out to me and I had her number again and there was a couple phone calls that never went anywhere. In my frustration, I deleted her number again.
Even though I had deleted her number, her memory kept coming back to me, kept me going back to Facebook and checking from time to time to see if she was single again…see if we should try again. I let it go.
About a month ago I went digging on FB. Nothing had changed on FB, so I wanted to know what was up with her. What I found was heartbreaking.
I learned that some time after we last spoke her life spiraled out of control and that days after her 35th birthday, she took her own life.
In writing about this, there are emotions that flood and overload my soul…a cup that flows over with hurt, loss, confusion, hopelessness, yearning…even anger. There are so many questions that will not have answers on this side of the Heaven.
I have wrestled with things, I have written, I have grappled with my past with her, I have lamented some of my interactions with her.
I have wondered if I had missed an opportunity to save her like so many others in her life did. Was she on my mind because I was supposed to be praying for her, asking God for her safety and health? Maybe some day I will know.
I have come to peace with the past…but I wanted to write to say this.
There are times when God places someone on your heart and we often think about that person in light of the story of our lives or our purposes. We often have someone on our mind but then decide if our interaction with them with benefit us or not.
We forget that this is God’s story and that person that God put on your heart could need a desperate touch of friendship or forgiveness to make their day a little better…or maybe even make the difference at a critical moment in their life. We forget that they, like us, are carrying burdens.
I read a book a while back about Vietnam. In the book there’s a story about a group of soldiers that have a Vietnamese soldier that works for them. This little guy would carry their radio gear…and he was unstoppable. He would lug gear around all day and have the best smile, the best attitude, and never seemed to get tired. Well, one day this group is out on patrol and this guy is carrying their gear just like always but this time, he sweating and struggling with the weight of his pack. The lead takes notice of this unusual behavior of this guy and stops the patrol to let this guy rest a moment which never happened. As this guy is bent over the leader takes a look at this guy’s pack and finds it’s full of small rocks! Seems a couple of the regular army guys didn’t like this guy’s great attitude on life…so on the patrol, they started tossing little pebbles into this guy’s pack one at a time. All day, as they hiked along, unknown to him, they filled his pack with rocks.
The relationships we have in our lives…the people we’re in community with, the people we interact with, the guys at the gym, the person who serves our coffee or diner, the girls we date, our family…do we add to their burdens? Are we filling their packs with weights…or do we try to lighten their load?
When God puts someone on your mind…do you ask Him why before deciding if or how this benefits you?
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about”