Life is measured by how we live, not by how long we live.
As we say farewell to President Obama, we are grateful for the many inspiring speeches he left behind. However, the words he spoke at the funeral of Beau Biden, Vice-President Joe Biden’s son, linger in my memory:
"We do not know how long we’ve got here. We don’t know when fate will intervene. We cannot discern God’s plan. What we do know is that with every minute that we’ve got, we can live our lives in a way that takes nothing for granted. We can love deeply. We can help people who need help. We can teach our children what matters. We can pass on empathy and compassion and selflessness. We can teach them to have broad shoulders."
Beau Biden died in the prime of his life, but in his short life, he lived these words of President Obama. When someone dies we often look to God for answers. This is especially true when someone dies young. It makes us wonder what God’s plan?
When God created us, He didn't promise any of us a certain number of years to live. What God did do is send Jesus to show us how to live each year we are given in the best way possible.
Jesus' words excited His disciples then, and us today, with the passion, vigor, gratitude, and generosity. His invitation, “Come and follow me,” changed the world in His day and continues to change the world in our day.
The scriptures remind us that it is not the number of years we live that matter, but rather the life we put into each year that tells our story. We count the number of years with each passing birthday. But we also need to look at our actions from year to year.
As President Obama eloquently said:
"We can love deeply. We can help people who need help. We can teach our children what matters. We can pass on empathy and compassion and selflessness.”
With the help of Jesus' grace to guide us, we can live fully with each step we take and each year we live! When some years become difficult to navigate, President Obama added, "We teach them [our children] to have broad shoulders."
St. Francis de Sales' words show us exactly who makes our shoulders broad:
"Do not worry about tomorrow. The same everlasting God who cares for you today and every day will either take away your pain or give you the grace to endure it. Put aside then all anxious fears and imaginations."
From these inspiring words, we gain the hope we need, realizing that God who created us will take care of us. God loves us all equally. Every year is a gift and God walks with us lovingly and caringly through each.
We are always His people and He is always our compassionate God.