“It makes me a bit worried about what the next year will bring,” I said.
“What does?” asked Elizabeth.
“The fact that things are going so well.”
It was Christmas Eve 2012 and we were finishing wrapping presents and a glass of port. I was reflecting on the fact that there had been three major areas of concern in the last few months that had been weighing on my mind and now, just before Christmas, just in time to relax and enjoy our holiday, they had all been resolved. And, I should add, resolved in a way that was positive for all involved. I felt relieved and blessed. Jokingly, I said it made me worried about what the year ahead would bring.
Seven days later we were in our car driving to Hershey Medical Center as Mack was being flown in a helicopter in a desperate bid to save his life. He did not make it; the sepsis had taken him while on the flight. I still regret not getting the names of those who were with him that night. I know they tried to do all they could to save him and I know that they still remember him. Thank you, whoever you are, and never hesitate to reach out. We love you and are thankful for your love and care of our boy.
That Christmas Eve we had no idea what the new year would bring. We never do. We never know what the next day may bring. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”1 So true, Jesus, so true.
The knowledge of the unknown can be paralyzing, once you know what it really means. Once we realize that the future will, eventually, inevitably, bring hardship, suffering, and grief it can be difficult to even contemplate getting up in the morning. Yet we must. After all, our staying in bed will not keep it from happening and it will not protect us from this life, it will simply keep us from enjoying what joys life does offer.
In December of 2012 my grandmother was approaching her 94th birthday, the 23rd of the month. There was going to be a party and Elizabeth felt strongly that we ought to go since, “it may well be her last.” We left for DC, straight from Mack’s game in Pittsburgh, and celebrated with all my family. We also went to see Elizabeth’s family and had an early Christmas with them as well. It was the last time they all got to see Mack and we are so grateful we went.
Grandma turned 100 this year.
What we know about this future is that it will bring challenges and opportunities, sorrows and joys. We cannot stop it. The seconds roll by, the minutes, the hours, the days, and the years. What we can do is live in this moment, enjoying today and living it to the fullest.
As Christians, we also know that the future will, ultimately, bring the end of death and the reunification of ourselves with God and our loved ones. Today and tomorrow have enough troubles of their own, but the day after tomorrow brings the Kingdom of God.
1 Cor 15:21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
- Matt. 6:34 [↩]