Soaking It In

I recently attended a funeral of a family friend. Rebecca was a light in this world, and was my sister's best friend since childhood. It was the second funeral I've attended in the past 5 years. The first funeral was my father's and it was in the same church. I find much peace and comfort in that small Methodist church in my hometown.  It's the type of church that takes prayer requests by people standing up in the middle of the service. I wasn't raised in this church, but my sister was married there and my mom and sister went on to attend church there after I graduated high school. I've watched my nieces grow up singing in that church, and at Rebecca's funeral they sang "It is well with my soul" and "When we all get to heaven". Tears streamed down my face as I mourned her death and remembered her beautiful spirit. She was a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister and a nurse dedicated to saving lives. After the loss of my father death hits differently. I empathize more than ever before with anyone who loses a loved one. I know the deep pit that will now exist in their hearts, and the grief they will live with. But I know that intense pain is only because of intense love. 

My sis, bro-in-law, sis-in-law and brother

I constantly struggle with living "in the moment" and savoring every day. I thank God often for my life, my family, my home, my health and express that gratitude vocally. However, I still find many days where I'm simply exhausted. It's mostly mental exhaustion today with my kids vs. physical exhaustion when they were babies. But as I sat in the pew surrounded by family and friends I couldn't help but think about how I want to soak in every single day and moment because tomorrow is not promised. Tomorrow could be my last day on this earth. Tomorrow I could lose a loved one. I don't live in fear of what's to come, but I want to try my best to fully live every day with a grateful heart even in the most trying times. 

I would say there is nothing that can prepare you for death of a loved one, but there is something that has prepared me and that is my faith. Faith of knowing that God is present and no matter what pain we might experience he is there to provide peace and comfort. As I grow older I find it harder to connect to God. I've lost my child-like faith, but I remember the moments he has held me in the darkest days. I guess this post is simply to say...soak it all in. Soak up life. Spend time with your friends and family. Call your mom and dad. Call your grandparents. Hold your children tight. Yes, there will be crappy days, but tomorrow is a new day and life is a gift. 

I'm challenging myself to practice gratitude more often. Do you have any helpful ways to practice gratitude? Would love any tips!

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