The morning sun slid buttery down our bedroom walls, a golden glow all around. A storybook day, sparkling with the autumn leaves colorful on the ground like confetti, and our family warm and layered in the cozy indoors, where we cannot complain of the chilled air beyond our windowpanes.
A beautiful day that I soon learned was shrouded by death and grief and good people taken so soon.
I read an update on a Pastor whose struggle with cancer took him home overnight. A man whom the world was not worthy. A man who, without question, did what God sent him here to this Earth to do.
I also learned about another man in his final days, his young wife and child to be left behind. My heart aches. I look away from these announcements that come and rip and tear into the peace we woke up to, and I exhale.
My youngest son’s wakening eyes capture mine; he blinks and smiles, and I watch the humidifier puff its vapors like breath beyond his little face. A vapor.
In the book of James we read:
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? Is it even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live to do this or that.” James 4:13-15
The book of James is tucked toward the back of the New Testament and is short enough to finish in one setting. It is considered to be a good word of encouragement to those young in the faith and persecuted, and here I am, stuck on the vapor that vanishes.
And I start back at chapter one:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
A promised crown; a royal family. Our King reigns forever and ever, and when the vapor is gone and we have endured, we will enjoy a lasting beauty more marvelous than even the most golden day.
That promise is encouragement and our purpose and reason. It tells of His grace alone in the midst of a broken world and its temptation and of His gigantic plan for my day-to-day.
I think of the Pastor who has left his flock. A life taken; a good, productive life. Knowing his impact is eternal and his fruit remains, he has received his crown – like “radiant diamonds” – the very face of Jesus. It is not the end of the story; it is the reward that awaits.
I typically fold laundry during the mid morning hours. Yet, as I removed the tiny clothes from the cold dryer’s belly, I decided, today, I will not.
Instead, I will rejoin my little men upstairs in their exciting and innocent world of play. I will live in the moment I have been given to be their Mommy, and I will choose to make it count.
I hear a whisper:
Cherish the moments. Hug them. Laugh with them. Show them they are loved and by Who; that the road they’re on leads somewhere. The story does not end.
I kiss their little cheeks, and I tell them for the hundred-thousandth time, I love them. Jesus loves them, and one day, we are going home to Him. One glorious day.