James 1:-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
You know how you have those moments in your life where you look back on them and see how far you've come, or you see the lesson that you learned and may not have learned any other way. How life feels to pass by like time is standing still or you are in some sort of horrible dream that you know if you just open your eyes the reality will come back and the dream will be gone?
Well that's how my 2013 has been.
Dec 29th. The morning after my 30th birthday. It had been a perfect celebration, the day before. It was low-keyed, just like I had asked. I had most of my friends around me, and I remember taking a mental picture of the night and thinking, my life is great. I'm happy. My family is happy. I have great friends, great stability, I am truly blessed, things are "right" in my world.
(The last text I received from Holly said how bummed she was that she couldn't be there because she had to work.)
Bj and woke up that morning, to a quiet home. The girls had spent the night at the grands so we could have a night out with our friends for my birthday. They weren't ready to be picked up so we went and grabbed a quick breakfast. When we made it back, we got news that one of my closest friends, a 29 year old wife and mother of 3 little ones, had passed out from a seizure at work. We were extremely concerned and were waiting on more of an update, since she had been taken by ambulance to the hospital to be evaluated. That was when everything changed.
I feel like I will never be the same from that day. You truly never realize how fragile life is until it hits so close to home that it rocks you to your core.
The next several days are a blur to me. The rollercoaster of events the took place regarding my friend's outcome was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever dealt with. We found out later that she had suffered a massive stroke that had effected her ability to move, to regulate body temperature, to speak and early on, to swallow or even breathe on her own. It was a nightmare. There was talk of taking her off life support because there was no improvement. It was devastating. I cannot put into words the massive amount of emotions that slammed me. Seeing her parents and imagining what they were feeling, seeing her husband and those precious babies. I watched friends and family rally around and believe for a miracle. To believe that this couldn't be her end.
Amidst all of the emotions, and the heartache and the mundane life that continued on, something has been so clear to me. Many times people are taken from us and I have heard or know the feeling of wishing you had one more moment to say things to each other, to tell them how much they meant to you, and with her, I felt so secure in knowing that we had done that. We left nothing unsaid.
Leave nothing undone. Don't waste time doing mindless things that don't matter. Don't pass up an opportunity to spend time with friends or family. Listen to the stories that they tell. Don't wait for the tomorrows to do what is important. Because tomorrow may not come.
Say Everything, Do Everything, Love Endlessly
(She is still fighting. We are believing that the brain pathways that were destroyed will be reestablished, or that new ones will be formed. For ways to support and a link to her prayer page visit www.hollygilstrap.com)
I have only one proclamation for 2013. That I live each moment with purpose.