“Lovin’ Life” Like Johnny

lovin-life-titleLast week, a dear friend, Johnny, from our church passed away. The news of his sudden death left us in shock, and left me in a greater sorrow than I imagined. I attended the wake the next day, and the funeral and burial services the day after. And I have to admit, I am still sad over his passing. But I am not hopeless. 

“Lovin’ life” was something that Johnny said to each person that he greeted at church. No matter how he was feeling that day. And he had many reasons not to love life. As a senior in high school, an accident during gymnastics was the start of a series of unfortunate events that left him mentally and physically challenged. He endured almost 30 years of this, and in the past four years that I knew him, he never once said that he was tired or sad. He couldn’t help but just love life. In fact, he would tell people about how God saved his life when the accident happened. Instead of viewing his accident as something that changed his life for the worse, he praised God because it was God’s saving grace that he did not die that day.

I don’t know if I’ll meet another person like Johnny. But I realized that we all have a calling to be like Johnny. As Christians, we are called to “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). To be the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). To tell others of the saving grace of the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).

The next time someone asks you “How are you doing?”, take a moment to really pause and think about how you’re going to answer. You could answer with the basic, “Fine”, or you could answer with “I’m really lovin’ life.” Or maybe the opposite, “I’m in a really tough place.” Invite others to share in your life story. Share with others.

Johnny’s passing reminds me that death is only the beginning of everlasting life. And I thank God that he is in heaven now, free of his physical and mental ailments. Until I see him again in heaven, I want to do my best to love life, and tell others about the saving grace in my life.

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