Carlos & Gloria Diaz    c. 1970s


Losing someone you love changes you. I pray that those who may read this post, if dealing with loss will be changed for the better. Time or tragedy will take lives away from the world as we know it to a place where we have yet to see. I call it Heaven and home. Call it what you will but the lives we have right now, ultimately will end. By all accounts, this is a one shot deal. You can either get this life right or you’re SOL.

In healthcare, there is always death of some kind. The death of a person, an organ, even cell death. I have had the privilege to stand at the bedside of a few, as they drew a final breath… in and out for one last time. Life ends. In the medical record we report, “expired”. In social settings we say “gone” or “died”. In church we say, “Gone home to be with the LORD.” And quite often we will say they “passed”.

I recently found myself using the term passed  when my sweet mother-in-law, Gloria Rodriguez Diaz went home. Thinking back, she did not just pass.  She lived her life in such a way that it was more than just a pass. In recent days, I have heard her described as “a force”, “classy” and “feisty”. True words. There was so much more about her that I will learn when I see her again at home one day. Point is, she lived her life with a zest that touched those who knew her and encouraged those who had the pleasure of meeting her. A life that was not just a pass but an inspiration.

I see dozens of people each week and I ponder how many of them will be so well remembered. I wish that I could say all of them, but honestly, NO. Not even half. The baseless complaints, the side-with-me whiners  and the consequence gripers! The mournfully forlorn who choose to lament and the critical hypocritical who ‘just don’t like people’. Let us not forget the scoffing scoffers (Psalm 1:1.) Such poor, broken souls who are really just passing. They are going through this life passing by all of the opportunities for joy, caring, peace and refinement offered along the way. Sad.

There is a popular saying “Joy is a choice.” I can hear the echoing scoffer’s guffaw somewhere out there as I type the phrase.

Amazingly enough Yes, some people do choose joy. There are those individuals I see who in their conscience suffering struggle to get up everyday and live in the joy that wells up from within their very being. It is a joy they have chosen as a way of life. These people, like my Gloria, these poor, suffering souls find joy despite their difficulties. It is a kind of joy that is difficult to understand but so desirable. These wonderful, inspiring individuals bring delight when I answer their phone calls and visit with them in their homes. I LOVE TO VISIT PEOPLE WHO HAVE JOY! I hope it rubs off. They are scarce in numbers and stand out because these people are not just passing through this life because they have to. People like Gloria Diaz deeply enjoy the smallest, clear breaths; the moments without pain; the tiniest reasons to smile. Choosing joy. I cannot explain it but I belive it is what may be called full joy. Full joy comes from GOD and maybe that is where the people I am thinking of get it.

In John 15:11 Jesus teaches,  “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Certainly joy that comes from the Giver of Life Himself would be so remarkably memorable. OH, I WANT IT!

My prayer: LORD let me be a soul that is not just passing but one that chooses Your full joy and encourages others to do the same. Full joy, Amen.




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