A seven-year-old has life all figured out:
“I think I already understand about life: pretty good, some problems.”
–Sam Lamott, seven-year-old son of author Anne Lamott, in Traveling Mercies, page 145.
“That’s the thing about unhappiness. All it takes is something worse to come along to make you realize how happy you really were.”
–Netflix’s “The Crown;” Season 2, Episode 8.
In Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Sidney Carton is first presented as a cynical man who has squandered his talents and wasted his life. He begins to change after becoming friends with Charles Darnay and his wife Lucie, and Lucy’s father, Alexandre Manette. At the end of the novel, Sidney sacrifices his life by going to the guillotine in the place of the innocent Charles, sentenced to death by the mob rule of the French Revolution. Also at the end of his life, he comes to faith in Christ and takes comfort in the promise of the resurrection. The opening words of the novel are some of the most familiar in all literature: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” The closing words of the novel are even better. They are the last thoughts of Sidney Carton just before he is executed: “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.”
Quoted on the internet (source lost): “Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said: ‘I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.'”
“Near the beginning of Lent, I read about an app which, if you download it to your phone, will message you five times a day (randomly): “Don’t forget, you’re going to die.” This fascinated me, (not enough to download the app), but enough that this became my mantra during Lent. Whenever someone or something irritated me, or I felt that rush to judgment rising in my head, it would come to me: “Don’t forget, you’re going to die.” It kept things in their proper perspective and became for me a wonderful spiritual discipline.”
—Lutheran Forum Newsletter
Also from the Lutheran Forum Newsletter: An old college roommate of mine has numerous health problems and has been in and out of the hospital. During a recent hospital stay, he posted this on his Facebook page: “I must learn to be more charitable. I’m in a wing of the hospital of mostly cardiac or pulmonary patients. All day long I was irritated by a patient next door that complained about everything– the food, the service, the weather, etc. I learned that she would be discharged tomorrow morning and thought ‘good riddance.’ Then I was awakened a few minutes ago by the sound of quiet sobbing. I could hear her on the phone. She was telling her daughter about how she was being released for hospice care. The doctors had done all they could for her. She was going home to die. I am ashamed of my earlier rush to judgment. It is time for kinder hearts and it must start here, with me.”
An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
By pastor and author Greg Laurie:
When my son Christopher died in an automobile accident in 2008, I was not the pastor called in for support, I was the person in need of a pastor. My pastor was Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. He helped me when I was at my lowest. I still remember his words to me as I struggled with the question, “Why did my son die?”
He said, “Never trade what you do know for what you don’t know.”
What a powerful statement. I do know that God loves me. I do know that my son went to Heaven, not because he was my son but because he had put his faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. And I do know, because we are believers, that we will be reunited again in heaven.
I knew these things. I had said them to others, but I needed to hear them myself. The Bible says, “We comfort with the comfort that we have been comforted with” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Luke 2:19 — Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Psalm 119:15 — I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust…
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.