My grandma was a wise old soul, took me by the hand not long ago
Said, “Son what’s your hurry? Boy, slow it down
Taste the wild honey, listen to the sound
of the wind that’s blowin’ through the trees, rivers flowin’ to the sea…
Life’s for livin’, child, can’t you see?”
These are the days that we’ll remember
These are the times that won’t come again
The highest of flames becomes an ember
And you gotta live ’em while you can
So take ’em by the hand, they’re yours and mine
Take ’em by the hand and live your life
Take ’em by the hand and don’t let them all fly by
—These Are the Days by Keith Urban
We had a reminder of the brevity of life last week.
My kids play in a band called New Horizons through their music school. It is a national organization, dedicated to providing the opportunity for people who have always dreamed of playing an instrument to make that dream a reality. Most participants are 55+, but exceptions have been made for Josh and Julia. Their experiences have been invaluable and the people involved are absolutely wonderful.
The sad and unwelcome news came on Tuesday that one of the band members had died suddenly. Her named was Lyndel and she was only 54 years old.
Just the week before, the band had played a lakefront concert on a beautiful summer evening. Lyndel’s ever-present smile was captured on photos as she played her French horn.
She had no way of knowing that would be her last concert.
One of her mourners made this comment: “Lyndel was always a giver of light. Her beautiful smile, her kind words, her laughter always brought brightness to every situation.”
Another said, “My heart dropped when I heard you were gone. Even though its been many years since I knew you, I remember that you were always kind to a geeky freshman. May God hold you always in the palm of His hand.”
Hers was obviously a life very well lived. I especially loved that an act of kindness to this self-described “geeky freshman” was remembered nearly 40 decades later. Our lives have the potential to powerfully influence those around us. Let’s take every opportunity to speak words of life.
On Friday night, my family and I were visiting with friends at their lakefront home. One of our friends stopped by after Lyndel’s memorial and told us about the service. She related that although there were certainly sadness and tears, there was also much laughter as Lyndel’s friends and family shared funny stories from her life.
As I sat around the table, surrounded by friends and the sound of the summer rain falling outside, I was reminded anew of life’s fragility.
I became fully present to the moment. My eyes lingered on each face…fellow travelers who are all on a pilgrimage to Jesus. We attend the same church and do life together. We share laughter (lots of laughter 🙂 ), heartache, struggles, victories, and stories.
Our children…most of whom are teenagers…could be seen in the next room playing video games, talking, and eating burgers and chips. Fresh faces, full of hope and promise and life. Outbursts of laughter and silliness were frequent.
An ordinary Friday night…and yet not.
There are no ordinary days.
Each day is precious. There will never be another one like it. We dare not take a single second for granted.
Early tomorrow morning, my family and I are headed back to my hometown for a visit. I will treasure every moment.. I will fully enter in to each day. I will leave no kind word of appreciation or admiration unsaid. I will laugh. I will fully relax with those who have known me my entire life. I will most likely gain five pounds as we eat at all our favorite places…and it will all be worth it. I will revel in being back “home” for a little while…where memories fill my mind and heart at nearly every turn.
But most importantly, I will celebrate the dear ones who have graced my life in such rich ways.
These are the days that I’ll remember.