Age 41 must be the year where I have to face the idea of mortality, how it affects my life and those around me, and how I feel about my own mortality. As if that wasn’t deep enough, I have two little kids who are soaking up everything going on in their mom’s life. While I’m trying to navigate my own feelings, I have to figure out how to ￼gently navigate through their feelings as well.
For those of you who have just recently started following me here, my posts generally focus around health, fitness and nutrition. But, I do a disservice to everyone if I do not touch on subjects in my life that are vulnerable too. The more I coach others and the bigger my following grows, the more I understand that people just want to be understood. So, if you can find something relatable in my words that also helps you in your journey, then it’s worth sharing. As much as I’d like my life to revolve solely around my happy family, my workouts and the Instant Pot, it’s just not that way.
Also, for those just joining here, I lost my best friend seven weeks ago unexpectedly to a pulmonary embolism and my other best friend is fighting for his life in the hospital with stage four pancreatic and liver cancer. This is some deep stuff to deal with all at once (or ever). I’ve tried hard to be sensitive around my kids, but it’s impossible to shield them from the emotions surrounding this. And, it’s also important not to completely shield them from it either. Finding the balance is challenging though.
Yesterday my four-year-old got stuck on the subject of beating hearts. He kept asking us if his heart would beat forever. I tried to explain that you have to take care of your heart and that’s why it’s important to have a good diet and exercise. With both those things, you can hopefully keep your heart beating for a long time. He started getting very agitated and saying that he wanted to have his heart beat forever. All of a sudden, he burst into tears and sobbed into my chest that he wanted to live forever. That’s when I snapped this picture. I happened to have my phone open with the camera on because just minutes before we were taking pictures in a happy moment, right before the tables turned on me.
I really didn’t know what to say. I’m not gonna tell him that we live forever because that’s not true. I told him that he should try his very hardest to live forever, but that even if one day his heart stops beating he had nothing to fear. Just like he has been learning about at school, Jesus would be waiting there for him and he would continue to live forever in heaven and the hearts of those who love him. That led to lots of other questions, most of which didn’t make a whole lot of sense except maybe in the mind of a four-year-old. I quickly changed the subject as it was clear we both had as much as we could take of this conversation.
Later that night as I prayed, I asked God why in the world he was putting all this on me at once. “Why, God, are you making me explain death to a four year old??” It was one of those rare moments when I could actually hear Him answer – “You weren’t explaining it to him. I was explaining it to you.”
I don’t know what lies in the days, months and years ahead. But I’m holding on to the faith that whatever it is I don’t have to be fearful of it. It’s weird how that makes me comforted and angry at the same time. You know?