Today is such a beautiful day and I'm spending it in a cemetery. I'm 17 years old and I spend many hours here, at my boyfriend's grave. Today is eight weeks since Andy died and I still can't believe this has happened. It doesn't happen to people my age or people I know. We're kids and we're indestructible, right?
Well, I remember a sermon at youth group a few months ago that I gave little thought to at the time. We were asked, "If you die tomorrow, will you spend eternity in Heaven?" I didn't consider dying anytime soon, or for that matter anyone else. However, I did realize I know several people who probably wouldn't be going to heaven due to their lack of faith. Actually, if I had died before I met Andy, heaven might not have been my future either. I'm a normal teen-ager, and have made mistakes that I really regret. And although those mistakes wouldn't have kept me from Heaven, my lack of understanding could have. I believed I was a Christian and thought that was enough.
Once Andy told me, "You're with me now and that's all I care about." I relate this to the same attitude Jesus has. The past doesn't matter, the future does. Whether you've had a lack of faith or lived a dangerous lifestyle, Jesus doesn't care. If you live your life with that in mind, focus on changing, and have heaven as your main goal, the rest will just fall into place. If you live each day knowing it could be your last, and live for God, you'll be so much happier.
Andy lived each day prepared. He had Jesus in his heart and it was obvious to everyone around him. Andy lived each day for God, so when his day came, so soon and unexpectedly, he was ready. I thank God for that, because he wasn't given a last chance to beg for forgiveness. We have infinite second chances, but rarely a last chance. God wants us to be prepared. And when my time comes, I expect to be embraced in God's loving arms, just as Andy is now.
Our life here on earth is so short. I've learned that the hard way. Yet, it is so awesome to know that our time here is just a preparation for going "home." While I struggle to deal with the void Andy's death has left in me, I know I'll see him again. I just hope I'll see my friends there, too. I pray that people reading this realize that today could be their day. So don't hide from God, embrace Him and live for Him, please prepare to "go home" also.
-- In memory of Andy Nelson --
(Jackie Steinke is a resident of Deerwood.)
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