Exploring Loss through Love
I have a voice mail from my grandpa on November 8th,2015 wishing me safe travels and reminding me that he loved me. Two weeks later I was in Ghana exploring things that seemed to have been lifted directly from a history book. One of my days I took a pair of pink and blue Nike sneakers to use as an item to trade for goods. Along with those sneakers I carried a notebook with the letter K on the front given to me by my best friend.
This particular day would result in me giving away my sneakers and my notebook. I didn't trade them...I gave them away. The shoes went to a man who said his sneakers were so worn out and he hadn't had a new pair in years. The notebook went to a brother who said he was trying to earn his degree and didn't have a notebook of his own. In that moment, I gave to them because it felt right not because I would get anything in return.
I think this reminds me of the grand scheme of life. Give to others even when they possibly don't deserve it or recognize your value. A man who had no biological ties to me owed me nothing but showered me with love, rooted for me, and always made me feel like I made his day better by just hearing my voice. So many times I took him for granted but he gave without hesitation.
My grandpa passed away this morning and though death is inevitable, it still knocks the breath out of you. I used to believe that death was only reserved for the sick, shut in, and elderly but this is far from the truth. Sometimes it searches for those filled with hope and so much life that it flows from their pores. It finds those people and leaves us here to pick up the pieces and count all the things we should have done, could have done, and would have done if we had more time.
This isn't a post about death but a post about living. Apparently he passed away at church doing what he loved, playing his guitar, and surrounded by God's grace. God didn't put you here to live a small life because that's not the business He is in. God put you here to live a life so grand that people all over feel your impact. He wants you to live a life that's full of love, adventure, and learning. I think there is something to be said about people who live life to the fullest...they're happier, more optimistic, and they inspire others to do the same.
Rewind to Ghana and giving away my shoes. I want to believe that the man who received those sneakers was thankful and better off because of our small exchange. People will often tell me how great of a spirit I have but I know it's because of those in my life. I have had leading examples of what it looks like to give and expect no return. I know that love sometimes comes in the form of warm hugs on somber days, calls to wish me well, and birthday cards that are busting at the seams from a man proud of his grand child. Sometimes love looks like giving all you have because it is right.
I challenge you to give it all you can and to live and love without boundaries. Give freely of yourself if you know that someone's life can be changed. Be present for those who choose to pour into you. Most importantly, give people there flowers while they are here and sometimes that means buying a flower for yourself.