>I have been wanting to post this for a few weeks now. Since before the appointments and before the sickness. But as with most other things in my life, I will stuff and hide my thoughts or emotions about the really deep stuff for a while, examining it and waiting because writing it or saying it out loud will make it real, and this just doesn’t feel real. But it is.

About a month or two ago, something happened and I knew that there was only one person in the world who might appreciate it and think it was as funny as I did. That person was Linda. She and I were friends years ago, and had been out of touch for about six years. I don’t want to get into all the reasons she and I weren’t close friends any more, mostly because there are two sides to it and she cannot speak for herself now and it’s not fair to talk about it now. Besides, it doesn’t really matter. All I’m going to say is, we had a disagreement because we firmly believed two very different things and neither person would change her belief, so our friendship withered and died very quickly. I always hated that, but I wouldn’t change my belief, and that was a deal breaker for both of us.

I tried finding her and did find her MySpace page. I was scrolling down and checking out her page, anxious to send a message and perhaps see if we could let bygones be bygones and rekindle our friendship. Or, at the very least, I wanted to share with her the story that made me think of her in the first place and tell her about the two best things that ever happened to me.

My heart began racing as I read through her comments. Comments which said things like, “Rest in Peace” and “We miss you so much.” What the heck happened? I sent messages to the people who had left comments on her page and found out that Linda had a heart attack in December and died instantly. In a moment, she was gone.

I was stunned. She wasn’t even 50 years old and had died of a heart attack.

I don’t mean this as a pun, but I was haunted…. I kept thinking of the time that she and I were pretty close. My heart was heavy because I knew that I wasn’t the Christian I should have been when we were friends.

Back then, I was just coming to terms with a lot of things about me, my life, my past and what I wanted my future to be. I was in the middle of becoming cynical and calloused and I didn’t even know what I thought about church any more, to be honest, let alone know if or how I would continue living as a Christian. Not that I was wanting to be an atheist or anything… but I was so wounded by people in church and was so confused about God and why He doesn’t mess with free will when innocent people are being hurt, and I was mad as hell. I was mad at God, I was mad at a lot of people in church, either for being fake or uncaring or not wanting to deal with very real, raw, hurtful things that people deal with on a daily basis, yet are taboo for “the church” to talk about (oddly enough, it wasn’t long after that the Catholic church began dealing with the sexual abuse cases, thereby thrusting issues of rape, abuse, and other horridly offensive things into the mainstream media AND church dialogue).

The thing is, Linda got it. She got me. She didn’t judge me for feeling what I was feeling. She just accepted me as I was. She made me laugh and helped me see other perspectives I hadn’t thought of before.

It was a very difficult, dark time in my life. And I know I wasn’t the Light I was supposed to be. I mean, really, I honestly believe that if you say you are a Christian, you should act like it. Not fake, but real. And I’m still trying to figure out how to be real about who and what I am now, and that God is still working on me… so while I’m not perfect, I’m still covered by the Blood. But that’s a topic for another post (or bunch of them).

I began to wonder, what if I was the only person who could have made a difference in Linda’s life? I probably wasn’t, but we cannot assume that we aren’t. We cannot assume for one second that a person we know or come into contact with has someone to show them Who Christ Is. Because there are people out there who are lost, hungry, searching and they may not ever find Jesus if someone doesn’t love them, and then show them who He is. We have to be open to the fact that there are many people out there who have no one to show them The Way.

It’s really easy to take life for granted, but eternity? Multiply the thoughtlessness many of us have about life by a thousand, and you’ll see how much we take eternity for granted. How often do we think about eternity on a daily basis? Not much, I’m willing to bet. What if we are put into each other’s life for a moment, but that the moment will have eternal consequences?

I hope that Linda found the answers she was looking for. I do. I’m afraid she didn’t and my heart is so incredibly heavy because of that. Rest in peace, dear friend. I do hope you found all the answers.

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