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As my fingers tap the keys, one of my dear, treasured friends is in the hospital for brain aneurisms.  Last monday she went in to the Doctor after having strange symptoms in her head.  On wednesday she underwent dangerous brain surgery. Miraculously, the two aneurisms in her brain did not burst.  It was a gut-wrenching process.  Tonight we found out the post-surgery scan revealed she has a third.  They have to take her back to surgery and repeat the process today.  With heads bowed, and hands clasped, we once again surrender control to the God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.

On the same day as my friend’s surgery, another dear woman from our small town, mother of three, set out to ski in SunValley.  A few hours later, she ran into a tree and tragically died instantly.

Deep sadness has settled in the crevasses of our community. Like piano keys hitting a dissonant chord, this week life feels heavy and out of tune.

Do we really believe that tomorrow is guaranteed? And what if it isn’t?  How will we live then?

Would we keep shorter accounts?  Would we overlook offenses because they just wouldn’t matter?  Would we love more? Fight less? Clear our schedule to make room for the most important people? Laugh together? Live boldly? Yes, we would do these…and so much more.

So why not today?

Max Lucado puts it this way:

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?

Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? 

Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? 

Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. 

What will matter then will be people.

 If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”

We know the answer to that question.  But knowing something and living it are two separate matters.

This is my daily tension.  I want to put relationships first. I really do. But much too often the less important takes precedence over the more important in my world. I know what to do in my head, but the fleshing out of that knowing is the struggle.

Living intentionally takes effort most of the time.  Yes, we have the moments of spontateous significance, but most days we need to carve out space for meaningful interaction.  This is different than co-existing in the same space.  It is engaged, heart to heart connection.

I find that creating small, practical daily “agreements” with myself makes a difference.  Here are five of them:

As the waters of both joy and pain converge and flow in my river together this week, I am reminded of what it means to live well.  To live fully. These sobering moments truly teach us how to live.

I pray I never forget.

What about you?  
Have tragedies or “close calls” taught you to live life more fully?

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. Ecclesiastes 7:4

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