For the latter part of 2016, I had a tweet pinned to my profile that read, “Life is precious. Please, please don’t forget that.”
I tweeted this on June 10, after witnessing an elderly man collapse in the parking lot of my local Target. I stood in the background while my mom and another young nurse gave him CPR, and I thought about how fragile life is.
Three days later, on June 13, I received a phone call telling me that a tumor was found in my grandpa’s brain. I found out later that night that it was also in his lungs. I hung up the phone and broke down, and thought again about how fragile life is.
That second week of June started completely ordinarily for me. I was a month in to my last summer with my friends from high school, I was gearing up for a trip to Chicago that I was taking in the next week, and I was eagerly awaiting my first NCA camp of the summer. Life was going just fine. But, as I learned that day in the Target parking lot, life can change in an instant. And it did for my family just a mere three days later.
The next days after June 13 were some of the most painful days I’ve experienced, but they were filled with hope just as much. I watched my family, my friends, and total strangers rally in prayer for my grandpa, and I felt more love seep through those hospital walls than I ever thought possible.
This life that we live is housed inside a glass box that can shatter at any moment. We truly never know when everything as we know it will change. We can’t control it, and we can’t prepare for it.
But, what we can do is stay hopeful in the moments that our lives take that turn. We can control our reactions, we can pray and pray some more, and we can spread as much love as our hearts can muster.
I didn’t know that man at Target, but he taught me to hold on to every single moment that you have with someone. He taught me to call a friend and remind them how special they are to me. He taught me to stay hopeful that the future will be better. He taught me to trust in God as he reveals the plan he has for my life. He taught me to tell people I love them as many times as I want to because they need to know. He taught me that life is precious, and fragile, and important.
Please, please don’t ever forget that.