I found out yesterday that my friend Jared unexpectedly passed away in his sleep earlier this week. I cannot fully express in words the depth of sadness that I feel for his wife, daughter, brothers, and parents. Only a year older than I, he had his whole life ahead of him. If you knew Jared, you would know that he had a bright smile kind heart that made anyone feel important and valued.
When I first found out, I felt confused and baffled. It couldn’t be true, could it? As I read Facebook post after Facebook post of condolences to their family, I started sobbing. Right in the middle of Starbucks. I gathered my things and ran out the door, only to sit in my car and sob some more. As I began mourning the sudden loss of his life, I couldn’t help but remember the other young friends I’ve lost. Chad, Amy, Nicole, my cousin Josh. All died in their twenties, unpredictably and all-too-soon.
Life is so fleeting. We feel like we’re going to live forever, but we never know how long we have. Rather than living in fear that we might suddenly lose someone we love, my challenge to all of us is this: live today and every day to the fullest.
- Let’s forgive those who have wronged us, whether they deserve it or not.
- Let’s tell our family and friends how much they mean to us.
- Let’s call our parents, grandparents and mentors to thank them for the impact they’ve made in our lives.
- Let’s send a card to someone who needs encouragement.
- Let’s take the time to watch the sunset and enjoy God’s simple gifts.
- Let’s remember that we’re never too young to love, inspire and empower those around us.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jared’s family this week. Jared, Chad, Amy, Nicole, and Josh: you are all missed terribly, and the world simply isn’t the same without you here.
Have you lost a young friend or family member? How has it impacted the way you live your life today?
Top photo: Jared and I in high school, after a basketball game.