Sometimes life is not altogether exceptional.
In fact, most days are ordinary. Each day is the same as the one before. At least, that’s what it feels like.
But I’ve been learning to treasure the little moments. The mundane, day-to-day “stuff.” Does that mean I’m a sentimental person? Definitely. Does that mean I’m overly emotional? Maybe.
So, how did I get here? And why do I hold on so tightly to the little things?
Last semester forced me to take a step back and get a bigger perspective. That single step allowed me to view every part of life in light of the big moments and appreciate the little ones a bit more.
I lost a dear friend. I’d be lying to call her a “long-time” friend. There were differences between us. She was home-bound. She was married. She had granddaughters. She had cancer, but that was the thing that began our friendship.
Months before, right after my high school graduation, my dad had told me about Lynnese.
Doctors had given her three weeks to live. But they underestimated her. Four weeks later, she was under hospice care. My dad asked me if I would spend time with Lynnese, keeping her company and helping however I could. Neither of us knew how long it would last. But it was the beginning of something. Every day, I went to Lynnese. I was her caregiver. But the care and love she showed me was something for which I’d been unprepared. Every day through the months of June, July, and August we talked. I read to her. She shared memories of Washington. We watched birds from her bedroom window. We talked of our Savior. We were fast friends.
Our times together were precious to me, so I began a journal to help me remember my favorite moments. On June 3, 2015, I wrote the following entry: “Today, Lynnese told me, ‘Every person has a story. God chose to write mine with cancer. Yours may be completely different. . . Everything in my life has been culminating to this point: to cancer. I know it will take me. But it has a purpose. God has used it to bring him glory, and it’s given me opportunities to witness to others.’”
Finally, our last day together came. I was leaving for school in a week. It was one of the hardest days for Lynnese. She was miserable. I had to step outside to gather myself. I wept. I sobbed. I asked God, “How long?”
Sept. 13, 2015. I was driving to church that bright Sunday morning when my dad called.
Lynnese was Home. Surprised? No. Just not prepared for the emptiness that followed.
My eyes weren’t dry for more than an hour that day. I had never before experienced this kind of loss. Sure, I’d attended many funerals. So why was my heart broken? Sometimes the pain was so deep I grasped my sides and put my head on my knees as if, somehow, doing so would keep me from falling apart. Grief became real. The kind of ache and despair I felt was hollowing, as if I’d never be whole again.
But I had been taught to hope. And, indeed, I had hope. She was with God.
Ever since then, I’ve taken life a little slower. No, I can’t change time. But I can savor it.
So I do. Sometimes that means hugging my sixth-grade sister a little tighter. Sometimes that means splurging on a Starbucks latte to make a memory with a friend. Sometimes that means sacrificing my time for someone else’s. But it’s all worth it. Why? Because people matter more. Relationships last.
Lynnese taught me to live each day with a little more passion. To laugh a little more. To cry a little harder. To appreciate the little things. To take the time to know people. To make memories a priority. And to love more deeply.