Monday, May 6, 2013

Lessons Learned

My siblings and me with all the glory of braces
Death is a funny thing. Today marks eight years since we got the phone call from the Austin police station, eight years since I saw my dad cry for the second time in my life, and eight years since I was permanently known to everyone in our small town as 'the girl who lost her brother'. There are some days when my brother's memory is just as vivid as if I just had that last lunch with him yesterday. The one where he hugged me tight and told me that he would see me again soon. And then there are times when I am talking with someone about him and I cannot for the life of me remember the simplest details about him like what his laugh sounded like or what his cologne smelled like that he had worn for years before the accident. It's funny how time slips away from us and with it, memories.

I guess I write this today not only to remember him but also to note how quickly time goes by. While a part of me wants so badly to remember every detail, there's another part that's relieved that I don't. It has enabled me to remember him and what he taught me, but not be able to hold on so close that it stops me from continuing forward. This experience has taught me three very important lessons in life in which I hold very near and dear:

1. Get out of your comfort zone. There are friends and family back home that think we're crazy for living so close to North Korea. But never in my wildest dreams would I think that my brother would be killed in a windsurfing accident, a hobby that he had done for over 10 years. My point is, we never know what will happen or what dangers we will encounter; so I've learned that fearing the unknown and the possible danger that lies ahead, cannot come between us and living our lives. As Beth Moore once said, 'We can be surrounded by our comfort zone. Sitting on our couch watching TV...and choke on a sandwich.' Don't miss out on all that life has to offer because of fear.

2. You're never alone. I can't tell you how many other people I have met since the accident with similar stories to mine. As much as I hate for others to have experienced the same thing I have, it's so comforting to hear their stories and know that I am not alone. Growing up, you hear stories and always think 'oh, that will never happen to me'. But in my case, it did. And while there is a lot of pain involved, I am so thankful for the support and love I have found in friends, family and even perfect strangers.

3. You are stronger than you think. Losing my brother was one of the most difficult times in my life. It was trying in ways that I never imagined. It tore my family apart and then rebuilt it to be more tight knit than before. During it, I thought it was the end of the world. But I got through it. And now because of that, when I face a difficult time in my life, I look back on that day and think 'I made it through that. I can certainly make it through this.'

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

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