Yesterday I had the privilege of spending about an hour with my wife, at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. My wife and I went to the Celebrate Life event put on in honor of cancer survivors. I was invited by Corie Rectenwald, one of my church members, to offer a closing prayer for the event.
As I looked around, I saw life! There were young and old, men and women, a few different ethnicities. Some people had hair, some didn’t. Some clearly had families with them, others were there alone. They had door prizes, vendors and face painting. We didn’t participate in any of that. But we watched! The one thing that showed up again and again were smiles.
These were people who had struggled, were struggling and would struggle again. But they were treasuring their day. They were treasuring those who were striving with them. They were treasuring the opportunity to give thanks for the life they’ve been given. The scene was encouraging and thought-provoking.
This morning, I am renewed in my passion to live life and celebrate it for the gift it is. Here are 4 reasons to celebrate life no matter what.
1. Life is found in the trouble.
It is the nature of life that there is struggle. Some troubles are of our making, some are made by others. Some troubles are just part of living in this world. Trouble is not an invader or interrupter of life. It is where life is truly lived and experienced. We should endure, strive, wait, love and live in the struggle. It is the struggle of our lives that God shows up and makes himself known. He takes our pain and makes it part of his work.
2. Life is valuable. It is worth fighting for. You would think that some of the people we heard from yesterday would have given up. They didn’t because they knew life was worth it. No matter how hard and how ugly, life is a gift. We only get one shot at life on this big blue marble. We must treasure it. We also must share it. Like those who told their stories yesterday, they added value to the lives of all where there.
3. Life is a story. Each of these people had stories to tell. They had experiences of hopes, fears, success, failures, joys and sadness which were being threaded together into a story. These stories have meaning and purpose. These stories are being woven together into a larger story of God and humanity. Each story is worth hearing. Each story is worth telling.
4. Life has an Author. As I listened to these stories and saw how they flowed together, I could see the hand of one Author. I could sense his purpose, his style, his creative genius in putting all these people in one place together to celebrate the big life story he is writing.
These aren’t new truths, but old truths with new skin. It is good to be around people who show the truth of life. Because when I see it, feel it, hear it, it is real in a new way. Thanks to the Celebrate Life Team. Thanks to Corie who asked me to come. And thanks to God for writing these beautiful stories that have now become part of my story.