At just after midnight, the message came: one of my best friends was in labor. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl just after 5:00 a.m. this morning. Madison Therese. Beautiful.
Then, just after noon today, another message came. My mother called to tell me that our dear elderly friend at her church was finally losing her arduous battle to COPD. Ann. Beautiful Ann.
So today, I cried. Tears of joy and sorrow too. And I thought, "And this is life..." THIS, my friend, is life. In one minute, a child is born into the world. Pink, innocent expectations. And in the next, someone is leaving it, slipping away like the last seconds of night.
Life. It’s a bittersweet coming and going. It’s poetic in its very makings. We are tugged one way, and then pulled the other. We laugh so hard that it hurts. Then we hurt so hard we have to laugh. Sometimes the happiness is so abundant and all-consuming that anguish feels like impossibility. Then sometimes the pain is so gut-wrenching we feel like we’ll never leave the valley of grief.
Ying and yang. Ups and downs. Inside-out and outside-in.
But this is life. Whatever it is. Whatever it is not.
There’s something so much more epic and mysterious than I can intellectualize about today’s happenings. It's so much bigger than me. But what I can take away from it is that perhaps the beauty Ann radiated will be funneled through Baby Madison. Maybe that’s the cycle of the Universe. The doings of God.
Perhaps beauty doesn’t ever die. Maybe it’s reinvented. Renewed. Relived.
Every time I look at Madison, I’ll think of Ann. When she does something new or squeals with unbridled joy, I’ll think of Ann. Somehow they’re connected for me now.
But then again, perhaps we all are.
And that’s the way of the Universe. The doings of God.
P.S. May God be with Baby Madison and Ann tonight, whenever they are. Amen.