Life Changing Moments: Life Taking – Life Giving

My mind was in full on check-list mode. All the while my emotional radar was fixed on the dual reality of anxious: excited / nervous. I’d always welcomed the short drive from my house to the airport so my being could move from planning to implementation. As I exited the freeway the background noise of the radio immediately caught my attention, “It appears that an airplane has just hit one of the twin towers in New York!” And in that moment, the world changed forever.

It was a crisp mid-winter day as I was answering emails and half listening to the evening news when the concerned tone of the reporter captured my full attention. I was vaguely familiar with the story, and frankly through the years I had heard similar words, but when the reporter said, “There’s real concern that this could become a pandemic,” that gave me pause. Really, I thought, a pandemic?! Of course I had read about pandemics in history books, had watched some “B” movies, but I never imagined that I would experience an actual worldwide spread of a virus. And in that moment, the world changed forever.

I stood there utterly speechless as I watched the video that captured the actions of the police officer. Sadly, this was not the first video, nor even in-person experience where I had observed the mistreatment of a Black person by law enforcement. The horrific death of George Floyd was unequivocally a tipping point toward a world wide call for racial justice. And in that moment, the world changed forever.

As I read the email my heart just sank. The deadly destructive wildfires that now consume the west destroyed not only the house, but a treasure trove of memories of a life long camp friend. The bitter irony is his life’s work has been caring for creation, especially the very forest that is now ravaged. And in that moment, the world changed forever.

Corporately and individually each of us are confronted with devastating experiences which change our lives forever. The question is how do you embrace the moments that follow. When 9/11 happened thousands responded from assisting on the ground to working for peace around the world. The pandemic has brought us a whole new understanding about essential workers and heroes. The death of George Floyd has brought to forefront the work we all need to engage in to dismantle the sin of systemic racism. The decimation of my friend’s home has rallied a community to help him rebuild his life.

A great number of people are experiencing an unprecedented amount of life changing moments – moments that are literally life-taking. The question for all of us is how are we called to respond in the moments that follow. How might we use the gifts we have been given to be a part of transforming life-taking moments into life-giving moments. Each of us has the capacity, each of us is invited to be a part of bringing forth healing to a world that is hurting in so many ways…and in that moment, the world will change forever!

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