Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Time for Every Purpose

Yesterday, I found out that a very wonderful person that I know from work was killed in a car accident. This news hit my ears like poison seeping in and every since I found out, my mind has been trying to assimilate this information into something comprehensible. Within two seconds of finding out, tears hit my eyes and I cried in for the first time in months. This in itself was a shock because the only people that I have cried that quickly over have been family members. It immediately occurred to me that I could plead his case and bring him back. Of course, this was a short lived thought I only wished were true because he deserves it. Like in the movies when the main character goes to heaven and has an epiphany and is sent back to finish their life, Joshua should be coming back to us soon. My mind wanted so badly to replace his name with someone elses in that sentence. "Last night Joshua was killed in a car accident." Like mad libs, another name would make more sense. Another person that did not touch peoples lives in the way he did. Someone that did not just get their life back on track and swing by his old job looking happy and healthy just to say hi to all his friends. These were my immediate thoughts when I was told what happened.

Joshua was one of those special people that really influences their surroundings. I had the pleasure and honor of working with him on an almost daily basis and going out and having drinks with him on one occasion. I already knew this about Joshua, but I did not know the extent of it until after his death. Everyone was hurt by losing him. He was a friend to all and left special memories with every person he met. I am not sure if you can really tell the worth of a person's life by attending their funeral, but you could certainly tell the influence that this one person had in life at his. The pastor told all of us that no matter how much we hurt from losing Joshua, remember that God has a reason for bringing him home. When this was said, the woman next to me blurted out "Well God is selfish!" Although I felt similarly about the issue, this produced other thoughts into my head.

What could God's reason be?

What I see around me is a lot of people really and truly missing a beautiful soul that brightened all their lives. As they showed the video clips of Joshua in his missionary work, I wondered how taking this person away from life on earth could be a good thing.

One reason could be that God was saving him from a hurtful future that none of us could fathom or know about. But this did not make much sense because it seemed as if he had already lived through some very tragic happenings in his life. What were these tragedies for if not to make him stonger for the future?

If it wasn't to save Joshua, then it must have been to save us. This rings more true.

What can save more lives than an unexpected and tragic death of a loved one in a drunk driving accident? This can certainly give one extra thought when it hits this close to home. Think of the call that his mother received that night. So tragic an event it cannot be ignored.

As important as this seems, that is only the surface. As I look around at all the people that loved Joshua, I see what message is being sent to all of us. Here was a young man that strove to enjoy every second of his life. He made sure to smile a lot and laugh a lot. He sang and danced every second he was able. He had a twinkle in his eye and befriended everyone. And although he had no children to carry on after he was gone, he left indelible memories with all of us and every person that knew him. This is how to live life. This is how to make every minute count, because you never know when it will be taken from you.
I look around at all Joshua's friends and family that actually almost entirely fill up this rather large church and I think not a minute of his life was wasted. I begin to wonder what impression I have left on the people around me. How will I be remembered? Not many of us will be remembered the way Joshua is remembered. Not if we were taken tomorrow, anyway. Luckily, we have all been given a little more time to work on it.
I miss you, Joshua.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mrs. Do Right

There is a sign over my desk at work that simply states, "Do the right thing, even when no one is watching." I did not put this up over my desk, it is one of the company's mottos and has partners that say things such as "To be respected, be respectful." and "Have fun at work." The one about doing the right thing just happens to be over my desk. The funny thing is that my desk is actually only a chair and filing cabinet's width of a desk that extends across a long room and is home to about seven other employees. So, with everybody watching, I sometimes sit and look at that poster with its wise remark and think to myself "Well, of course." Who doesn't want to "do the right thing?" People remind themselves of this in as many ways as possible when considering the options in any decision. "What would Jesus do?" and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Which, I might add is a rather commonly misunderstood statement.) Even the therapist's advice to count to 10 before acting is a version of this reminder. The real question is, do we actually do the right thing, even when no one is watching? Or in other words, when we don't think we would get caught? For most of us the answer to this question is a resounding "no." And here I am with a constant reminder staring at me all day long and when faced with exactly that kind of decision, I can't even rationalize to do the right thing. Does this mean I am a bad person? Does this mean my soul is doomed and karma is going to come and kick my ass? I don't know actually. When I finally figured out what the "right thing" would have been (a few hours after the fact) I realized that it was a futile act anyway. But I think that is the point. The futility of the right thing is the "no one watching" part. For most day to day wrong doings there is really no harm done. I think that people really look up to heroes because they are demonstrations of how we expect ourselves to be. But it is quite impractical. If you find $20 on the street, are you going to take it to the police station? Are you going to put up signs around town advertising that you found $20 and whoever lost it please come claim it? Would you just leave it there in hopes that the loser of the $20 would come back looking for it? What you would probably think about is how much you could really use that $20 and how lucky you are to have found it. Now think about it this way. If you lost $20, what would you want someone to do to help you get it back? Could they do anything? Maybe not. So what is the right thing to do?

Take a look at yourself and honestly ask the question, "Would I do the right thing, if no one was watching?"