Today is the 20th anniversary of Alexis’ death. She has been gone a long time. Thankfully, it has been long enough for us to heal, although it will never be long enough for us to forget or “get over” her. I am sure there will always be a thin veil between our various joys and the sorrow we still feel at living our life without her.
Losing her taught me a lesson about the values and priorities of life, but in the years after her death I forgot it. It has only been recently that I have been recapturing the power and gift of her lesson.
After we lost Alexis, Jessica and I savored every minute of life, because we knew how precious it was. We didn’t have the ability to gaze into the future because we could barely manage the current moments as they came to us. We learned to be present and to be thankful for our next breath.
As time went on though, I lost some of the strength of that lesson and I became gripped with my Achiever tendencies (see Enneagram #3), and I probably spent more time focusing on what was coming next than on what was happening now.
That isn’t a great way to live.
Painful seasons can send us down two different paths: we can either learn to cherish the good moments as they happen in real time or we can begin dreaming of better moments that we hope will happen someday.
In the past couple of years, through good things and bad things, I have recaptured the power of the present moment. I am just as ambitious and driven as ever, but not at the expense of what is happening today. I am so much happier, and I am enjoying my life and calling so much more.
Last night, Jessica and I had a celebration dinner and an awesome picnic with Maddie and Amber and Theo. It was a good night. Today, we will huddle up and remember Alexis. It will be a good day.
Martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, famously said, “Wherever you are be all there! Live to the hilt every experience that you believe to be the will of God.”
Jesus said it even better, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:33, The Message).
Alexis’ brief, three-year life taught me so many things, and at the top of the list is this: she taught me how to live.