Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A life that was lived.

Last week NCLC lost someone who had touched many lives during her short time being part of our community.
She wasn't part of the worship team or one of the speakers, she wasn't one of the recognised leaders of the church. She was "just" Lizzie. But for those people who knew her there was no "just" about Lizzie. She radiated warmth, enthusiasm and life.

One of my friends Craig has been deeply touched by her death. He wrote about the effect that she had on him. I will leave the rest to Craig Nelson.

Liz Jobes was a beautiful, young and vibrant girl. I'd known Liz for approximately 3 months. She came into our church with her amazing brother and sister; Peter and Rachel. Very quickly all three of them had an amazing impact on the life of our church, getting involved in whatever they could and serving on different teams.

I didn't know Liz as a close friend, she was after all 21yrs old and I'm a little older! (Come on Craig, more than a little) But I had the pleasure of small chats in passing and on a few occasions she was part of a group of people I was having lunch or dinner with.

That makes the impact her death has had on me all the more astounding. It's not necessarily the quantity of our interactions with others, but the quality of them. You realise when someone has died just what they gave you and what they have left you.

Lately, after the glow of being given a job with a dream shift pattern has worn off, after the horrors of going through a marriage separation have gone away, after becoming debt free and having surplus cash again, I expected to be ecstatic and excitedly move forwards into the future. Instead, the initial jubilation for all of the above lasted about 1 month and I began to feel kinda flat again. Why should this be? After all, I have so much to be thankful for! Yes, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically, going through tough times does have an effect on you. Having got through those actual situations I'm still dealing with the effects they may have had.

That's where Lizzie comes in. You see, Lizzie has taught or rather shown me something. She's shown me how to LIVE. I know that it's not our circumstances that dictate our Joy because even when things are ok I can still be pretty flat. So how can I live?

How can I save my general demeanour from being kinda miserable? By choosing to live the way Lizzie lived! This is how I see it, I cannot remember one single occasion when I saw Lizzie, that she wasn't smiling, not one, ever!

A person who is smiling is a person who is living every moment to it's fullest potential.

I can worry too much, I can think way too much about things, I think about the future, about tomorrow or next week or next month or when I get married again or when I'm a dad or when I retire! The list goes on, I think think think think think and in doing so I rob myself of the beauty of LIFE, I rob myself of the beauty of NOW. I close myself off to real life because the only real life that's happening is that which is happening NOW! I miss out on interactions with people because I'm not present, I may be physically, but inside I'm somewhere else, thinking or probably worrying!

When Lizzie died, her young age made me realise that we don't have that long, she had 21yrs but I feel she probably had way more than many who die in their eighties, why, because she lived in the present, with a great big beaming smile and innocence that meant she was open to everything that was happening around her at that moment. She was enjoying the moment and not selfishly hiding away in her own thoughts, thinking and worrying about herself and her life. She had an innocence that showed she wasn't hiding, she wasn't protecting herself from the world around her, like I often do.

Life can do that, we get hurt and broken by the stuff life can throw at us. We often respond by putting up walls and barriers, protecting ourselves from any future hurt that may occur.

But in doing so we rob the world of our true colours, we rob ourselves of life by not engaging with it. We rob our friends by denying them the way we are individually made in Gods image.

I want to live more like Lizzie,

live in the moment,

live innocently,

not hiding my colours,

letting God shine.

Thanks Lizzie.