In the past several days, we’ve had news regarding dear friends–one facing a grim prognosis, the other awaiting news on a health matter. Each of these has been influential for decades, making the sort of impact one simply does not forget. Easy to think of such people as being part of the furniture in one’s life, to assume that bodies will remain as robust as ideas.

Strikes me how often in life there are gifts, but few guarantees. And if that’s the case, then living each moment well makes sense; it’s wise to be mindful. I go back often to a refrain in the book of Haggai–‘give careful thought to your ways’–because it nudges me toward mindfulness. It causes me to take stock.

My friends are in God’s hands. They and I know that, and we derive great comfort from this. I–and they–could worry (and quite likely we do, at different times, and for different reasons), but we can also reflect on how close life is to a vapor–it hinges, after all, on mere breath–and thus what a privilege it is to have a mind capable of giving careful thought, to have opportunities to encounter others over coffee, or Monopoly. No guarantees about the length–or even quality–of days, but so many gifts along the way, as fragile as glass, as bright as diamonds.

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