Today we had a memorial service for a man who used to work here at the mission who died a few days ago. He had fallen victim to the bi-polar disorder over 20 years ago. From the testimonies of co-workers he was a prince of a man, a servant, listener, care-taker and loved the Lord dearly. He was in more pain than anyone really could understand. He was broken and unable to find the healing he needed. He committed suicide after visiting his children across the US and even came to the mission to see everyone, little did we know he was coming to say goodbye. I never knew him, I met him when he came for that last visit. He seemed pleasant enough, he smiled and laughed with his old friends. He seemed very pleased that I had joined the team. His heart was for missions and for the Lord to be pleased with him.
Life is so short. As C.S. Lewis said, “You have never met a mere mortal.” Each human you come across has a story of their own. Each person has struggles and strengths you may never know about, but no one is just an average Joe. I’ve known a few people who suffer from severe depression – and no, I don’t always understand what they feel or why they feel the way they do, but that doesn’t mean their pain doesn’t matter. It does. I know that I might not be able to do much – but at least I know that when someone asks something of me, I can to that. Maybe it’s inconvenient for me, but this life was surrendered to the Lord long ago, inconvenience is not an issue. I’m not saying that this is an attitude I should take with only those who I think deserve it – this is for everyone. If I can help someone and I can be there for someone when they need it, then that’s where I should be.
Can I change the outcome of someone’s life? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s not my call. I’ve been called to love, and that’s what I have to do. Life is too short to spend it only caring for myself, living to do what makes me feel the best. It’s not about me and yet sometimes if I just change my perspective it is about me. When I’m focused outward the Lord is changing me from within – He’s always at work in me.
I didn’t know this man, but he taught me something: Life is too short and full of unanswerable questions; just be there for the people who need you, you don’t know who you’re talking to (no one is just another guy on the street) or what effect you can have one someone. Keep your eyes on the Lord and let Him guide you. Get your focus off yourself and look outward more. Serve people.
But I’m still left to ponder: Did it have to end this way?