“A true friend knows all about you and loves you anyhow.” Author Unknown
Being a member of a household with many kids was always a comfort to me, growing up. I was the oldest of four siblings, and later five siblings, when at seventeen years old, my baby brother Lil’ Mac was born. We were all “Navy brats” – my father being a lifer in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. We lived all over the U.S. growing up and always had each-other whenever we moved to some new town where we knew no-one and had no friends or family. In just over two years we lived in Charleston, SC – San Diego, California – Baltimore, Md. – Mississippi and finally settled in Fairfield, CA. for 13 years. My parents instilled this sense of adventure in us all – by getting us excited about the next town we might live in. It could have been rough, but we always had each other. My siblings were always there.
Being the oldest – my brothers and sisters treated me like I was “the golden child” – to them – I could do no wrong. They fought amongst each other but NEVER fought with me. (Except maybe over whether we watched Super-Friends or Scooby Do on Saturday morning cartoons, but I digress…) I remember when I was in middle school, if anyone said anything bad about me; my sister Tracey would literally go at ‘em to kick-their-butts. I never really cared about what people said about me – but in her eyes, I could do no wrong. She was almost 2 years younger than me, so we were usually around the same grade levels through-out our school years. She also used to go to bat for me whenever I liked a girl – I was extremely shy and unsure of myself (yes- really) and she was my “wing-man of middle school”. My sister was always there for me.
As we grew-up all of us went our separate ways; I got married (twice) and moved to South Carolina with my wife and youngest daughter – My youngest sister stayed near Mom and Dad, one brother lives in PA and another in Michigan. My oldest sister, Tracey, moved to Illinois decades ago. Because of us being all over-the-place – none of us spent much time together. Not even talking or writing. Life kept us all so busy with day-to-day minutia, personal family matters, work and the distance from one another – that weeks, months and then years would pass us by in what seemed like a “blink”. But in the back of our minds we all knew that we would somehow, soon, all get together and break-bread. A big family reunion. My siblings were always there.
So I’m sitting in a meeting at work and I receive a phone call from my mother. My mother does not call me in the mornings – so getting a phone call from Mom meant something was “up”. I answered the phone and my Mother was sobbing; “Tracey died…” I was so stunned that I literally could not feel anything. Which was helpful because I had to sit through the meeting over the next hour.
I was changed at that moment. I became a person who has lost a sibling – my sister. Now I know how that feels.
The scriptures tell us that we are not promised tomorrow – so we are to give no concern for what might be – tomorrow. We are also compelled to not hold onto the past. We cannot change what was. So that leaves: today. We should be concerned for today. It is written that “His mercies are new every morning”. And it is written that we should not put our hope on earthly things – but “store our treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not eat”. And that is the purpose for my writing. To point out that we are to look to things eternal – not to what we have here on earth.
Those things could be wealth, a nice home, a job that we love or even a person that we love. All of these things could be gone in an instant – so if we place all of our hope on any of these – they will fail us. There is only one who sticks closer than a brother – closer than a sibling: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He also sent Holy Spirit who WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU nor forsake you. The only catch is – if you don’t know Jesus, then you don’t have Holy Spirit. And that leaves you vulnerable to the possibility of losing everything that we would otherwise put our hope in – in this life. If you are one who has money to put your hope in; “That money will always be there to fall back on.” You might think. I cannot stress enough how quickly your many dollars could be brought to nothing. If you are one who believes that “my home will always be there” – ONE GOOD STORM could most certainly change that. If you are able to consistently depend on your personal health and ability – I can assure you that your health and ability are SURE to fade. The scriptures state; “So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say,” I have no delight in them”; (Eccles. 12:1 HCSB)
And now I know from experience that those we love and know will “always be there”, can be gone in a moment. I am not saying that we should not enjoy our health, wealth and loved ones – not at all. Delight in all of these things. But do not place your hope and therefore, your future, on these things. There is only one who holds your future. Put your hope IN HIM! If you do not know Him – it is such a simple thing. You can ask Him RIGHT NOW – to be Lord and Savior. You do not need to “get your life cleaned up” and “then I’ll go to church”. (As so many are sometimes lead to believe)
WE ARE NOT PROMISED TOMMORROW. I cannot stress this enough. Today is the day of salvation.
Ecclesiastes 11:7-9 New Century Version (NCV) Serve God While You Are Young
7 Sunshine is sweet; it is good to see the light of day.
8 People ought to enjoy every day of their lives, no matter how long they live.
But they should also remember this:
You will be dead a long time. Everything that happens then is useless.
9 Young people enjoy yourselves while you are young;
be happy while you are young.
Do whatever your heart desires, whatever you want to do.
But remember that God will judge you for everything you do.
My sister Tracey knew me very, very well – and loved and honored me anyhow. Pretty amazing.
Memorial to My Sister – December 1 2017 Newspaper column in PDF format