I used to think that life consists of total happiness at one time and total sadness at other times. Now I believe that happiness and sadness can co-exist.
For example, this past Sunday, the singles' Sunday school class which I teach had a Valentine breakfast. Sherry Dahrling, chair of the event and her committee, fed the multitude (92) and got us out in time for our Valentine program on love. It was a happy, joyous time.
Yet, before I left for the event, I received a telephone call from Chris Young, who called to tell me that his mother and my good friend, Gerry Young, had died quietly in her sleep at 7 a.m. Throughout the day, I experienced both happy and sad emotions. After Sunday school and worship, my thoughts turned completely to Gerry's life.
I met her in the 1970s when she and her husband, Bruce Young, were members of a couples Sunday school class which I taught at the time. Gerry was attractive, well-groomed, friendly and interested in everything that was going on. Through the years, her health issues increased but she never let them define her.
She defined her life by three F's -- faith, family, friends. Her Christian faith was strong, well-developed and the basis for all her decisions. Her family members brought the greatest joy to her life. She truly valued her friends and was an encourager to us all.
As recently as last Friday she called to report, as I had requested, on the doctor's prognosis. Very calmly she replied, "He said that medically, they had done all they could to help me."
Answering my unasked question, she continued, "I probably have two months to a year to live." Then she added, "I'm not afraid to die, but I wish I could see my grandchildren grow up."
In those few words, Gerry Young summed up the Christian view of life -- life is fragile but God is good and will be with us on this side of death and beyond.
Contact Nell Mohney at firstname.lastname@example.org.