By John W. Vander Velden
Some time ago I had a friend ask one of the big questions. Why does God allow the people we care about die?
Surely that question has passed through all our minds at one time or another. Each faces loss in our own way, but it is certain, for those of us that have rode this earth around the sun more time that we care to consider, that loss, and dealing with it, is part of our history. Looking back I too have been separated from some of those closest to me.
I have not blamed God for those separations from those I have loved and lost, but understand the mindset of those that might. The God I know does not pluck people out as they go about their day. God does not manipulate the universe in order to call certain people home.
No, the God I know loves me.
But God has given us free will, the ability to make our own choices. It is a grand gift, perhaps the grandest gift we have been given. But with that gift comes an immense responsibility. And though we are free to choose, each choice we make carries results. Good choices end up leading to good results, in general. Bad choices…not so much. Terrible choices can lead to catastrophe.
Often we are our own worst enemy.
And yet we wonder about those that seem to be taken too soon. The pain of loss is real for those that care. It is the price of empathy. So let us look at this equation for the other side.
As a human with human connections, I would not give up any of these connections in order to eliminate the pain of the possible loss. So Looking from this angle I consider the people of my life, especially those most dear, as temporary treasures.
The value that each of us place upon those treasures varies by how dear we hold them. But no matter how rare, how special, those we love may be, there will be the time when we will be separated. Perhaps, to some, it might seem morbid to recognize that all of us must deal with the mortality of the human condition. But none of us have been allotted an infinite period to spend within this shell that carries us about.
We are born.
We move about our lives while making building relationships with others.
Over time we may be dependent upon any number of them…become especially fond of some. And then, sooner or later, our time upon this planet will end.
Shouldn’t we, while we breathe, recognize that the ones we love most are indeed treasures loaned to us for a period of time? Should we not be grateful for their presence in our lives? Shouldn’t we thank God for each and every one of these temporary treasures with which He has blessed us?
That mindset does not eliminate the pain of loss. It doesn’t mean that when we are mired within the darkness of personal pain, we will not have questions.
Questions of timing.
Question of reasons when reasons are beyond our comprehension.
Questions about what we see as the unfairness of life.
Questions of why.
God doesn’t mind the questions, for God is always near enough to hear them when we ask.
But sometimes when our heart has been shattered, we face the Master of the Universe with our rage…our bitterness. God stands before us then as well. To absorb the anger we, in our pain, spew. Hopefully, with time, we will hear when God reminds us that it was He that gave us these treasures in the first place, to hold near during those times we needed them most.
Treasures that cared for us when we could not care for ourselves.
Treasures that dried our tears.
Treasures that taught and guided us as we grew.
Treasures that shared the most important moments of our lives.
God has provided us those treasures most rare, for a moment…or years…but not forever.
Those treasures have made us richer.
By the same token, should not we see ourselves by this new perspective? Hopefully each of us is, by our existence, a treasure to others…or should be. A finite treasure…a temporary treasure.
(710 Words) 7–2021