Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. James 1:17-18
The goodbyes were said and the tears shed,
the memories shared and the pasts compared,
the smiles alive but left behind,
the feelings treasured to be forever remembered.
You enter the world with nothing and leave the world with nothing. But in between there is plenty. Life is a rare concept- it is not theoretical, but spiritual. It is not constant, but constantly changing. It is not purely intellectual, it is emotional. It is not perfect, it is all too real. It is, for each individual, the scope of our existence beyond the blood rushing in our veins and the light in our eyes. If taken completely, if sacrificed and reborn, Life can twist itself into an empirical opportunity once unimaginable to our original infant mind. And what we call “Life,” at least from the human perspective, is the most infinite concept and divine chance to ever be created. For it is all we know. And everyone has their own definition.
History reveals the many shifts in culture and custom; from the ancient to medieval, the victorian to modern. Yet across all those centuries and humanities the knowledge of right and wrong stands. The significance of love and redemption remain, the tears we cry and laughs we share echo on both backward and forward in time. At these foundations of human actuality lies why we view every living breath as sacred.
This planet dramatically swings about a star within a formidable universe, while we walk and play quietly upon it. All we have is our God, and each other, to make of what we call “Life.” Only but a flash of lightening in a storm, or a water molecule in a stream, only a soul in the current seven billion, or a name in the past trillions, we are given the power to arise from the dust, to glorify our Creator and love others, before returning to the dust. (Genesis 3:19).
All this thought was triggered by my departure from my hometown for college. Heading to Cornell is my first important leap. Multiple “milestones” occur during this earthly journey, transitions in which God calls us to reevaluate what impact our Life has lent. This refreshed evaluation includes two realizations: what lives have you touched, and what lives have touched you. While these dual areas may overlap one another, they are never the same. This world is strung with intricate, invisible webs between human beings, as socially linked blessings. Someone may never know she was your ‘hero’, that her actions and speech inspired your passions. And likewise, you may never know another individual has too given you the title, for the very same reasons.
Along my high school years, I have repeatedly reflected and experienced such power.
From within the screaming crowds of my volleyball games, to the quiet testing room of academic decathletes, from the whispers of library rows to the lively grass fields, from the rustic homeless shelter to the glorious theater, from my neighborhood street to a friend’s house, I have left ties in every corner of my city. For I feel that God has enabled us to find His understanding not only through His comfort, the Bible and the church, but in what we see everyday.
I used to bike out to north of my housing division, on the outskirts of town along a certain road. That road split civilization and creation. One side was covered by deep furrows of either greenery or emptiness, the other side walled by homes. I would sit beside my bike staring at the two road sides, to meditate about what I was doing on this Earth. And directly up that road the yellow lines pointed to the outlined Sierra Nevadas. During my time there my thoughts eventually boiled down to this- that the Lord my God has provided me with a physical life (the valley side), consisting of the crops and organisms of His creation for me to manage and discover. Also a social life (the house side), where my family, friends, and fellow beings mesh to form a meaningful purpose. And lastly a spiritual life leading to the mountains, where only my trust in Him could send me to their peaks. That bike ride always embraced how I knew Visalia.
For now, that is my interpretation of life. For now, I leave one home only to make another. For now, I feel blessed by the lives that have touched me, and the lives I have been privileged to touch. Cornell is the new adventure, my first wander into the unknown. It is only the beginning, an initial milestone, and I know my views and passions and dreams will transform, but my love for the Lord will always remain.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14