Today has been quite the whirlwind. Memorial Day is usually day for barbeque’s and time spent with friends and family… my day was a bit different. I was woken up from the strangest, most realistic dream I’ve had in a long time by my younger brother (who shouldn’t have been home until late evening) telling me that my mom was on the phone and that she wanted to speak to me. She asked me if I was ok and then told me she was on her way home. Utterly confused by all of this, especially her asking me if I was ok, I stumbled out of bed and grabbed my cell phone to check the time–it was 3:05 pm. I, too, stopped for a moment to wonder if I was ok after realizing that I slept through half the day.

Soon enough, my mother, father, and grandmother were back and I was helping them lug their purchases into the house. While my grandmother was momentarily distracted my mom pulled me to the side and confided in me that she found out earlier in the day that her uncle had passed away. She looked over at my grandmother for a second and looked back at me and said in the most helpless voice I’d heard come from my mother: “I don’t know how to tell her that her brother has passed away.” At 70 years old, my grandmother has more life in her than most young adults. When everyone else is too tired to keep going, she’s still zooming around cleaning something or fussing over someone. Yet, ever since my grandfather passed away five years ago, she has become markedly far more fragile, losing weight and shrinking to half her size. As I watched her zooming around our kitchen, I wondered how much more grief her frail frame could take.

As soon as everything was settled, she started asking my mother to call her brother for her. She wanted to congratulate him since his daughter had just recently given birth. And it wasn’t just any ordinary birth. You see, my mother’s cousin is 46 years old. She has been married for over 20 years and in all those years she had not been able to conceive. She went to fertility experts and tried all the medical methods available, but it was not her lot in life to bear children. So it came as a wild surprise that when she went to a doctor with complaints of stomach aches that she discovered that she was 6 months pregnant. The miracle baby was born 2 months premature and a few days after her birth, her grandfather passed away.

Life’s cycle seemed to cris-crossing in a furious manner across my relatives in a manner that made very little sense. As my mother was left to come up with reasons as to why they shouldn’t call my great-uncle at the moment, I was left with the task of finding a priest to come and sit with my grandmother and help break the news to her. After some phone calls, a few voice messages, and some waiting I was able to find one with some time to spare between appointments during the day to stop by my house.

He came, we read the Bible and prayed together, and then we told her that her brother had passed away. She did not take it any better than anyone had expected. The day came to a close quickly and quietly. I packed up in order to return to my apartment and said goodbye and then started my hour long drive. An hour spent alone in a car is enough time to mull over a miracle birth, a sudden death, and strange dreams a hundred times over. But the only conclusion I could come to with absolute certainty after an hour of thought is that nothing at all is certain in this world. In a few short days the barren can give birth and those in the best of health can pass away. I may finish typing this post and head to bed and not wake up in the morning. Will I be prepared to meet my Maker? Will I be able to stand before Him with my head held high because I used the time given to me on this planet to live a life that glorified His name? Or will I be overcome by shame for wasting away the gift He has given me? Will I have regrets, things left unsaid, actions left undone?

But now is not the time for questions. It is a time for action, a time to take chances, a time to throw fear out the window and live. This moment may be my or your last (or we may all live to be 99) but there is no certainty, so if it is my last then it must be no less than wonderful. Make peace with everyone, tell those you love how much they mean to you, leave smiles behind you everywhere you go, treat everyone with gentleness and respect.

Today the great-uncle I knew so well in my childhood left my world and a miracle baby entered it–the equation remains even.