This post uses affiliate links. For more information see the disclosure policy.
Learning To Live
Five years ago this week I lost a friend. The word friend doesn’t seem to even adequately describe her because she was so much more. Emily changed my life.
I met her during a very dark period in my life since I was just diagnosed as being chronically ill and I was so bitter at the prospect of being in constant pain for the rest of my life. I was grieving since my plans were upended and life wasn’t going to be what I thought. We ended up in the same dorm at college and instantly, I thought she was one of the sweetest and brightest people I’d ever met.
And then I found out she had cystic fibrosis.
Her deep love for people stemmed out of her profound love for God and her relationship with Him. She took each day as it came. It was humbling for me to watch someone deal with far more than I ever will and yet live with far more grace in spite of it.
She taught me how to live.
Pain isn’t something to be feared like I thought it was. It just is and we have to take it as it comes. While I’ve heard people insisting that God never gives us more than we can handle, the truth is that actually isn’t in the Bible (read this here); pain and tragedy will floor us a times in our lives. In those dark and lonely hours, it will be more than we can handle. I know. I’ve been there. Emily was there too. The truth is that God can handle it for us. He promises to never leave nor forsake us.
We only have two choices in this situation. We can lean into God or we can run away from Him. We find comfort in trusting Him in the midst of the pain, or we can blame Him for inflicting it on us. Even being angry with Him for failing to save us from it is no different from blaming Him because with this response, we slowly and meticulously build brick upon brick and construct a wall between us and God.
We do this because we think we are owed more. Because we think our plan was better. Because we don’t see things as they really are.
I’ve always been a huge fan of C.S. Lewis ever since my dad read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to me when I was tiny, but one of my favorite books by him is Till We Have Faces. It’s a classical story; a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth as told from a sister’s perspective. The main character’s journey is one of learning what love is and how to see ourselves as we truly are. Only then can we really see God.
It’s an incredibly easy read and yet incredibly thought provoking. I saw myself in it before I met Emily.
It’s so easy to dwell on the wrongs done us and we find ourselves justifying our response, arguing our case, ranting even. We become so consumed with ourselves that we fail to see the beauty in what is going on.
There always is some.
There is grace; this is not the end, not really anyways.
Emily died at age 27. I will always wish I had more time with her, but I’m immeasurably grateful for the time I did have. Even though her time was short, she did more than most people can do in a lifetime, at least in the things that really matter. When she left, she left a hole that was so large it could only be filled by God because that’s where her heart was: in Christ.
I’m so thankful for God putting her in my life and for her offering such friendship. I’ve learned to see who I am, the person I should be, and the gap in between. This gap can only be bridged by seeing God for Who He is and filled by His grace.
No matter where we are in life, we all have this gap. Where’s yours?
If you aren’t quite sure or looking for a thought-provoking story, you can pick up a copy of C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces here at Amazon. This is an affiliate link meaning any purchases you make through it may earn me a small commission which goes towards keeping this site running. You will never pay more for using it. Thank you for your support!
I hope you all get to experience the blessings of having an Emily in your life. And even better, may we strive to be Emilys to those around us.
Miss you, Friend! I miss our talks, hanging out, eating chocolate malted crunch at the end of the hallway, guessing how much gas your car had in it, pranking friends, and I really miss your smile and laugh. Thank you and I’ll see you again one day 🙂