This simple phrase is a no-brainer. Everyone knows that life happens. We experience it every day. Yet, somehow, I am continually surprised and thrown off guard by this simple fact. By the quickness of time’s passing. By the unexpected pain and trials. By the immeasurably joyful moments. By the monotony of the mundane.
Regardless of my surprise though, life continues to happen.
Jesus continues to draw me deeper into his life, into the pain and brokenness of this world as he walks through it with me, into the peace and grace of his love as he extends it to me and asks me to extend it to others.
Jesus continues to remind me. He reminds me of the fact that I do not have control over how life happens. He reminds me that when life happens, I have to trust him. Yet, he also reminds me that I have incredibly important choices to make when life happens. I may not be able to control how or when the hard, the joyful or the mundane happen, but I can control how I live in the midst of those things. I get to choose who to share those things with, who to love in the midst of those things and to whom I will surrender those things.
I confess, these last few months, I have been inconsistent in all of those areas-in my response to life when it happens. Jesus has shown me, in the midst of all of it, though, how important it is to be present. Life happens. All the time, life is happening: hard things are coming or going, happy moments are in constant movement, popping up all over the place. Yet, in the fluidness of life and all that it brings, Jesus gives me the opportunity to be in constant communion with him and with those around me, especially those I live with.
I have a friend who is in first grade. She lives in the apartment across from us. There are times when I get home and life has happened that day, in a big, hard way... And my friend wants to play with me or just sit and talk with me. In the second that I have to process her request and form my response, Jesus is also inviting me. He invites me into the life of my friend, into his love for her and reminds me to be present. It is far too easy for me to write off relationships and invitations from Jesus into the lives of those around me because I am ‘too tired,’ too exhausted from the happenings of life to do what he’s inviting me to: to rest in him and let his love consume and control me.
Yet, when I accept his invitation, there is truly no greater joy, no greater life on this earth, than the life I live with Him. I am praying for his reminders to lay aside my preoccupations with the happenings of life, past or future, and, instead, to be present in those happenings, walking with him, choosing to be a friend to others and to be sensitive to those around me.
-Gabi, Community Fellow 2014-15