I have had some pain in this life. Many of you have heard all about my heartaches and heartbreaks....and it's fair to say that I have had my share. But when I read the story of Joey & Rory Feek....when I listen to her perfect voice sing those perfect words of "When I'm Gone," well, I feel small indeed.
The magnitude of their grief makes mine pale by comparison, for the glaring difference between my grief and theirs is that I was able to spend 23 years married, not just 14. The pain and brokenness that ended my union was born of sheer and utter neglect. Not a dreadful, unyielding disease for which there is no cure. I was blessed to get to see my three children grow up. Their baby just turned two. As I think of the Feeks and the shortness of time they must be feeling, I realize that I am shamefully late. I have wasted too many good years that the Feeks would now give anything to have.
As I gather myself to read their blog or a headline catches my eye, I glance through the news story quickly and with trepidation, dreading the announcement of Joey's last day. Her last day. She's too young. She has a baby. Please wait. Don't go.
Joey has not treated life as a rehearsal. She hasn't wasted any time during her brief, earthly stay. It was just a few days ago that Joey's husband, Rory, reported that she was still giving him gardening instructions so that when she was gone, he would be able to have freshly picked vegetables for their now 2-year-old daughter. Not one minute of life wasted, I tell you. Caring. Planning. Serving. Loving. Committed.
The Feeks have been married just fourteen years this Valentine's Day, nominated for a first Grammy, and celebrated their baby girl's second birthday, all in a short week. They have squeezed out, used up, and wrung out every last drop of living and love that they possibly could. How shamed I am feeling tonight at how easily I lost my most valued life. It is somewhat like watching the teenager in the car next to you driving and texting. They think they have a hundred years to go. Now I just fear I can't get it right before it is over.
I am moved by the Feek's story. My heart is deeply touched. The realization of a lesson learned almost too late is weighing heavy. I need to know more about how to treasure the people in my life and how to value time. Get busy living, so they say.
They may not know it but the Feeks are the blessed ones. They did not squander time and their love will carry on long after the earthly end of the story. From following their story, I would bet my last dollar that they do indeed know how blessed they are. In my case, I must remain and face my choice of loss. The Feeks will have created glorious memories of moments well-spent. Perhaps not as many moments as they had planned, but glorious nonetheless. I am envious, in the sweetest way possible.
What brought this on, you might ask? Tonight, I listened again to the song that this lovely couple cut just a few short years ago, well before the devilish cancer had put its claws into their romantic tale. As I sat and thought about how many of us waste time, I just had to get busy writing.
Please listen to the song. Join me in hearing the call to a deeper part of our soul....it is a simple warning not to waste even one more second. We need each other. The Feek's example is a fine place to start. Just begin. Anywhere.
It's time to dance with the fireflies and smell the daffodils and hear the whippoorwill's song. Time to enjoy the glorious morning blue skies, the cricket's call, and whisper our loved one's name. Before we are gone.
Godspeed, Joey. Your legacy is calling me to a different place. With God as my witness, I will not waste another day.