Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Make Each Day Count!"

You plan your life together, you make arrangements for all the wonderful things to come: love, family, happiness and growing old together. You’ve worked hard to ensure a future together with your partner, until one day it suddenly all goes away. This is what happened to a couple named, Michael Muchioki and Nia Haqq. After coming home from their own engagement party, they were gunned down tragically in Jersey City. Police are still investigating what happened, but so far they have just come up with a botched up robbery and a botched carjacking. ---read more here. When I first heard of the story on the news, I immediately thought--jealous rage? Maybe a secret lover? Maybe one of them had a stalker? Nobody knows at this point. How can this be so random?

What makes this story even more heartbreaking are how many people loved this couple so much. They seemed to be liked and treasured by everyone they came across, whether it be friends, family, acquaintances and those who have only just heard about them. They fell madly in love in high school and were planning on continuing that love...till the end. Little did they know, the end would be so soon. Oddly enough, my friend Mark and fellow blogger had written about time wasted called, “Discounted Fourth Dimension”. It’s a short piece about how time is easily spent and easily gone just like that. It was appropriate for today’s sad news. What makes people live aimlessly in time, while others ‘make it count’?

While eating breakfast with Madelene this morning watching this story unfold on the news, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “You have to make each day count!” I also still heard the pangs of heartbreak over her father’s passing seven years ago in her voice when she said that. Her devastation over the loss of her father has given her a renewed sense of appreciation for time. Last Sunday evening, we spent the evening having dinner with her mother and her fiance. Her mom’s fiance was telling us about the work that Mad’s dad had done for the house before he passed on, and mentioned how everything was cemented down, so that other people couldn’t work on it or replace anything. He said, “Tommy really bolted everything down as if he was gonna get robbed!” In my head, I thought, “He meant to stay there forever”----while Madelene blurted out my thoughts: “He meant forever”, with tears clouding her vision. If you knew Mad’s father, you would know that he was strong, healthy and active and could fix absolutely anything in the world. This guy would live to be 100 years old! Then one day unexpectedly, he died of a stroke at the age of 55.

At any time, at any given moment or place, your life can be taken away from you just. like. that. Nobody is guaranteed a life full of health and happiness. You can eat the right things, exercise till your heart shines with happiness, find the love of your life and still ---that’s not enough. You have to figure out a way to dodge all of these dangers lurking in the night. How does someone dodge fate? Or, if you don’t believe in fate, how does one determining when their time is up? ...You don’t. If you have faith, it becomes less of a burden on your mind and heart. Faith is what makes us stronger, more courageous with everlasting hope. Also, faith isn’t easily obtained if you never had any to begin with.

One of my favorite scriptures is of Matthew 17:20:

"You didn’t have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."

My faith in God pulls me out of the fear of losing the people I love in my life. That’s the biggest fear in my life, but if I didn’t have the faith, it would completely consume me. My own parents talk about ‘when they die’ all. the. time. I know part of them wants my sisters and I to know that they are concerned about us after they pass, but whenever they bring it up, I cringe with fear. My parents are in their seventies now and God bless them---live a happy life together, even though their health isn’t in tiptop shape. I’m blessed to have them still, I know this. But for people in our lives who are of similar age, eat well, exercise, what determines “when and where” God will take them? Some people say it’s not God taking them - it was an unfortunate accident. For me, when it’s your time, it’s your time. There is no “nice plan” for death. There are more peaceful deaths, but nonetheless, they are being taken away, regardless.

Another comforting scripture is found in the 2nd Corinthians 5:1-10

“We know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down--when we die and leave these bodies---we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies. Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.”

God bless the families of Michael Muchioki and Nia Haqq. May their souls rest in peace.

As my beautiful Madelene would say: "Make each day count!"

Visit their memorial page on Facebook here.