Sometimes a sweet life is also a short life. Somehow despite knowing the facts each of us always tend to “forget” that we are never promised tomorrow. We do not live our lives daily as it would be our last. Perhaps it is healthier to pretend… but I do not think so.
I have seen my fair share of sweet lives being short one’s. The worst kind of this is when you loose ( although no-one is really ever ‘lost per se’ ) a child. It goes against the natural ways we like to think the world works. However, not only my mother but also my father both died before their parents and now it’s happened again. Sometimes things work out differently.
Recently, and I mean literally a few weeks ago, my sweet 19 year old nephew was killed. He was the star football player, graduated with Honors Chemistry and had just started college. He was full to the brim with jokes and life. In one split instant he was gone. As I gaze at my pictures that I have taken over the years of him I am reminded yet again that what I do as an artist is priceless.
When sweet lives become short ones we ask ourselves the usual questions of “why?” I’ll tell you why. Bad stuff just happens and my friends…God has nothing to “do” with it. Truthfully as I stared back at over 400 young folks and family speaking to them and trying to both comfort and explain that life happens I myself felt a sense of calm and resign. He was, as we christians say “saved.” In being saved the Holy Spirit is always with us and when he passed the Holy Spirit was with him. That is what makes it all ok…to die when we do and under whatever the circumstances. Everyone must acknowledge that life’s last push is death and we will all die but with God we don’t really. Lot’s of people that day got that message. What they also saw was a sweet life well lived. Jennings had traveled to the Philippines with his youth group and helped countless families stricken with poverty, he had touched all of their lives and friended them with smiles even on their downiest of teenage days. He through his passing had given his heart, liver, kidneys and limbs to save and make others lives better..even possible. Although short he lived a sweet life.
Sometimes when we are paying attention, God winks at us. It’s at the most desperate times and the most joyful that He demonstrates that His Love is always around us and that when we die we are never really gone if under His loving care. We as a family traveled to North Carolina to provide comfort and speak and to say in each of our own ways good bye to a wonderful young man. He wanted to be a forester and loved the woods. Ya’ll know that I do not like anything that doesn’t involve air conditioning and room service however we decided to rent an RV and make the trip. We after all had many people to move and school work to be done and more importantly the required time to travel in such a way was a forced down time to, as a family, gather ourselves and process this awful unthinkable experience.
The morning we awoke headed on our last leg back to Houston I went outside and found that the “park” we had rolled into that night was really a bunch of tall pine trees and nothing much more. A place oddly enough that my nephew would have loved. I started shooting the sunrise and as I did the bright rays through the trees formed a perfect cross. Then I noticed that on the ground there were several pine cones and in various states of development. I had an idea, and began gathering specifically for a shot of the lifecycle of a pine. In my attempts to gather these there were tiny cones still attached to a sprig of pine leaves whilst others were young and never opened fully to develop and reproduce. As I finished gathering, the last of this I needed were the tiniest of seeds that had been blown away from the cones in order to make new trees. I began counting out the tiny seeds and as I was working all the children gathered around me. I began counting and really I wanted 19 seeds…one for each year of Jennings life. I placed the seeds on the old picnic table and resumed counting, now with all the children watching and as I counted out loud, I stopped at a perfect 19 laid there before me! Not another seed to be found anywhere. I looked up and saw the faces of all of my family staring back at me and I said “If you needed any proof that Jennings is right here with us…I think you just got it!” God is good all the time… you just have to be aware of signs letting you know that even in the darkest of hours it’s all going to be ok.
Take Care of YOU!
(use my signature)
Do you have a story of a GOD WINK? If so I’d love to hear it!