This Lenten season, I’m sharing TURNING POINTS in my life, where I took a path and my life was never the same.
Here's the video and the transcript is below:
This story takes place in 2009 and is a lesson taught to me by my good friend from South Africa, Mbali. It was my third trip to South Africa with my church and I was saddened to learn that people we knew had passed away since our last visit: our driver in Cape Town had a heart attack and died just weeks before, the guide at the Catholic Church with the bullet holes outside of Kagiso had passed away from a lung infection and our safari guide had died since our last visit. None of them were old men and their deaths were not expected.
The losses were heavy on my mind for the 16-hour plane ride. It was a joy to be greeted by our friends from St. Thomas Parish and Mbali was among them. After dinner I asked her, “How do you cope with death all the time? It seems that it is all around us here.”
She was quiet but spoke of a lifetime of separation. Under apartheid, it was not unusual for men to be arrested and never heard from again. In modern day, the small church in Kagiso has funerals most weeks with the high rate of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in South Africa.
I asked again, “You are all so joyous all the time; how do you reconcile death when it is so constant?
Mbali replied, “We deal with death by living fully. We recognize the presence of God in our lives and trust that He is a good father. As we grow in love, hope, peace and companionship with God, we grow in our relationships with others in the same ways. We never know when someone will be called to the next kingdom; we treat every meeting with another person, friends and enemies, as if it will be our last.”
This was a turning point for me, to not take people and relationships for granted. Only God knows when I will draw my last breath. My best preparation is to grow in His love and always be looking for ways to love those around me, friends and enemies alike.
Blessings, my friend,