Livin It Devotionals-Time

Big Willie was the type of guy who would do anything you asked of him, even if he wanted to scream every second while he was doing it that he didn’t want to do it. He was the ‘teddy bear’ of our group. The guy you could always count on to lend an ear, a shoulder, or one of the best hugs west of the Mississippi, or in the world for that matter. Big Willie wasn’t my closest friend, but he was far from my most distant. He was the life of the party, the glue of the group, and the least deserving of everything that happened to him.

I became pregnant with my third child right about the time his first was coming up due. Mid way through my pregnancy, his baby was born, and all he could talk about was how proud he was to be the daddy of that child. Every time I saw him, the picture would come out of the wallet. The baby’s mom was struggling with post partum depression on an extreme level, and Big Willie and I had many lengthy talks about it because I also suffered from post partum depression after both of my daughters. He took comfort in knowing that it was a pretty normal condition and beat himself up less about his job that had long hours. For him, it was a very trying time. He was also there for me when my daughter tried to come early on three different occasions. We called it ‘baby trauma drama’.

In the same month that my daughter was born, he lost his to SIDS. Losing a child is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. It was a very hard time in his life, because he always wondered if it was due PPD or if he could have prevented it by being there. There were no signs of malnutrition or abuse when the baby didn’t wake up.

It wasn’t a close time in our lives because I was celebrating the birth of my new child without my friend. He was having a hard time coming around some one who had just had a living, breathing baby. I understood his pain, but I never let too much time go on without checking in with him.

Time passed, and he healed as much as you can after such a heart wrenching experience. We were all a group of friends again doing the same things we always did. I’m not sure why, but about 5 years ago, we all started drifting apart. Some were getting married and starting families of their own, some had to move to find work, and some just disappeared. That happens in groups of friends when enough time passes by.

Big Willie was there for great times in my life as well as awful ones. I was there for him through the same. Real friends hold each other up through life’s trauma and never stop being friends even if a million years passes by between visits. We ran into each other less and less, and phone calls and text messages stopped altogether.

I’d heard that Big Willie lost all of his weight and gave up alcohol. I told him how proud I was when I did see him. Every once in a while, we’d run into each other and give an update on our lives, and then we’d always say, “We need to get together soon”. We never did, but our brief meetings proved that time didn’t matter; we were still as good of friends as we were when we saw each other almost every day.

I recently dropped my daughter off at her dad’s house for his weekend visit and learned about the final tragedy in Big Willie’s life. You see, Big Willie found himself in another relationship with another woman who didn’t see the gem she had before her. Instead, she griped, complained, put him down, and drove him nuts until one night he decided, ‘Fine, I’m going out with the guys’. While he was out, he had quite a bit to drink. He was, after all, the master of the Flaming Dr. Pepper.

The fight that he left at home blew up in a series of text messages from his girlfriend about what an awful and uncaring man he was. Completely distraught, he left the bar and got behind the wheel of his car. He never made it home. People speculate that he may have opened his phone to read another text message from her, or maybe that he was sending one back, but either way, the combination of alcohol and driving took Big Willie’s life at too young an age.

Over the past week, I’ve been thinking about that phrase, ‘we need to get together soon’, and I’m saddened that we never did. We walk around this planet like we own it thinking that time is ours. Today is the same as yesterday, tomorrow will follow suit. Next week, then next month will come, birthdays and Christmas will roll by again…and again…and again…and again.

I turned to my bible for solace and understanding of our lack of understanding when it comes to time and I found myself in Psalm 39: 4-5 where David contemplates the significance of our lives in the grand scheme of the universe:

4 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. "Selah"

It’s a sobering moment when you actually feel that verse come to life. Things come and go. We come and go. A handbreadth is the distance of the four fingers on your hand. Think about that compared to the universe, and it’s easy to see. Time is short. It’s not ours, and we don’t decide when we’re done here.

My challenge for you is to stop talking about the things you should be doing and do them. Stop saying you are going to get together, and do it. Stop thinking about praying and begin. There isn’t time to come to God later, because if your number’s up and you’re not right, it’s too late. Too late. There is no second chance after you die. There is no all kind loving person at the gates of heaven that will say, “Oh, now you believe us? Come on in.”

You never know when you’re not going to return home from a trip to the store. Get out there and just do it!

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