I Don’t Understand Why Life is Short

 

I mentioned in my blog post for 20 Years of Buffy that I plan on writing life lesson/inspirational posts inspired by Buffy. My intentions are to write one per episode or cluster of episodes, depending on what quotes or lessons I can get from them. In this post, I’m sharing a scene from the first episode of season one and the sixteenth episode of season five, because they seem to go together quite well, especially given the nature of what I’m going to write.

 

On May 12, 2017, my grandpa (paternal grandfather) peacefully passed away in a lost battle against cancer while sleeping. On the morning of May 22, 2017, it was announced Executive producer Marsh McCall of Fuller House passed away unexpectedly. Then, later in the evening of the same day, it was reported that there was an attack at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people and injured 59 others.

My grandpa’s viewing, or wake, was on Sunday, May 21, 2017. As the evening went on and various people spoke and shared memories of Grandpa Willis, I watched as many of my twelve brothers and sisters and various other family members took turns breaking down in tears. I personally am not a crier, but I do feel immensely deep emotions that are only intensified by the emotions of others, so my feelings were through the roof as I watched each of my siblings react in their own unique ways. My sixteen-year-old brother is like me; we don’t really cry. My mom, dad, twenty-one-year-old brother (who, as requested by Grandpa, stayed in Virginia where he and his wife are stationed for his position in Navy), and eighteen-year-old sister are alike in that it’s incredibly rare for them to cry, but they will in emotional moments like at a funeral. My fourteen-year-old brother, twelve-year-old sister, nine-year-old sister, and seven-year-old sister are the emotional time bombs of the family. They’re always dramatic and act accordingly to the situation. Sometimes, it’s completely understandable, like at a funeral, while other times it’s just completely over the top. Then, there is the thirteen-year-old girl, eleven-year-old boy, and eight-year-old boy, who are completely unpredictable. Sometimes they’re as emotional as the time bombs and other times they’re as calm as the sixteen-year-old and I are. Finally, there are the five-year-old boy and the four-year-old girl. I’m not nearly as familiar with their emotions as I am with the others, because I moved out when she was almost two and he was three. I did expect them not to know what was really going on though and I was right.

The five-year-old was rambunctious and restless, because he didn’t understand why he had to sit and be quiet for so long. The four-year-old was just as restless, but not quite as rambunctious. I’d say it’s probably because she carries herself like a princess, while he’s all boy, but I don’t really know what was going on in their little heads. I do know that on May 22, 2017 while we were sitting through the funeral service, they were both incredibly excited. John, the five-year-old, was in awe of the fact that we got to see pictures of Grandpa when he was young and in the Navy up on the TV screens, while Bonnie, the four-year-old, got a kick out of being just tall enough to see Grandpa’s nose and bald head over the casket. It may seem odd for me to say this about something that happened at a funeral, but my heart was filled with somber joy at the sight of their innocence. They understood everyone was sad, but they didn’t know why. They just knew that we were there to see Grandpa and that we were seeing him in an unusual way.

What broke my heart the most though was watching them sit with Momma at the graveyard and look around at all the crying faces. I watched as the light slowly dimmed in their eyes as they realized that something was wrong. They didn’t know what, but they did know from the tears streaming down everyone’s faces that something was terribly wrong. Like Anya in the second clip, they knew that Grandpa was gone, but they couldn’t understand where or why he was gone. None of us could. We all hope and expect that, because he claimed to put his faith in the Lord, that he is going to heaven, but we don’t truly know where he is or why he’s gone and that’s what hurts the most. That’s why the light in John and Bonnie’s eyes slowly dimmed while they looked around at everyone’s tear-streaked faces. We don’t have all the answers to the millions of questions running through our minds as we say goodbye to a loved one. My family and I don’t have all the answers, the cast of Fuller House and everyone else who knew their producer don’t have all the answers, and the friends and families of the Manchester Arena victims don’t have all the answers. Do you know what we do have though? We have hope. We can hope for a better day. We can hope and believe in the Lord God Almighty who died on the cross so that we might never have to shed another tear or feel another moment of pain ever again. We can also find hope from the words of Buffy Summers in the first clip—”seize the moment” or as Willow will say in a later episode not shown here, “Carpe diem.”

Whatever your beliefs may be, no one knows when anyone will breathe their last breath. Thankfully, in the case of my grandpa, we at least had a warning that he would very likely be passing away sooner than later. There was no warning for anyone that Marsh McCall would be passing away though, and certainly no one expected that going to a pop concert for Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena would lead to any fatalities. In past years, there was no warning that the young lives of Lauren Bump or Christina Grimmie would be taken at only twenty-four and twenty-two respectively. Most people don’t go into their day with the knowledge that it’s going to be or likely could be their last day on earth. That just doesn’t happen. If it did, then we wouldn’t need sci-fi movies, because we’d be living in one.

So, let us follow the wise, albeit cliché—as she points out in the full scene—words of Buffy Summers: “Seize the moment, ‘cause tomorrow you might be dead,” and let us all also remind ourselves as often as we can that, “life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, then I’m going to go reread my blog posts about Lauren Bump and Christina Grimmie, because sometimes, you need a fresh reminder of why seizing the moment is so important and few things can remind me more than the remembrance of two girls who were my age when their lives were suddenly cut short.

how-lucky-am-i

Nathan Scott - Missing Someone

Pray for Manchester

Living in the Shadows of the Spotlight

“They’re special, no doubt. The amazing thing is, not one of them will ever know, not even Buffy, how much harder it is for the rest of us…. They’ll never know how tough it is to be the one who isn’t chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You’re not special. You’re extraordinary.”

Xander Harris – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If my life were a book, TV show, or movie about a super human or the “Chosen One,” then I’d be the goofy side kick. If my life were a cheesy chick flick, then I’d be the best friend of the girl who gets the guy. If my life were a sitcom, then I’d be the comedic relief or the character with all the random facts and quotes. If my life were printed or scripted, then I’d be the character who is easily overlooked in her world. I’m not the most important person in the world and I don’t have any special talents or powers. I’m just me.

In high school, one of my best friends was a model and my two other best friends were not only two of the best players on our volleyball and basketball teams, but one of them was also the worship leader at our Christian school while the other was the best female student in our school. Now I have a best friend who is on the worship team, and at one point was the worship leader, at our church so she’s often in the spotlight being complimented and talked about for her musical talents. My other best friend will soon be moving across the world with Cru—formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ—and is therefore kind of a “super Christian” because she’s leaving everything she’s ever know to be the “Chosen One” who helps further the kingdom of God. Even my younger siblings are all a lot better at most things than I am. My oldest brother is married and living on the east coast while serving in the US Navy, my oldest sister is a thin, blonde cheerleader, my next brother is one of the smartest kids in the class of 2019. The next brother is potentially on the verge of becoming a YouTube star, the next sister is super smart and athletic, the next sister is an awesome dancer, and the list goes on and on and on (did I mention I’ve got twelve younger brothers and sisters?) I am no stranger to living in the shadows of the person who’s always in the spotlight.

Some might think that living in the shadows of someone who is in the spotlight is a hard job. It is, sometimes, but most of the time it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m not really the best at anything I do. I’m not a model, I wasn’t great at sports in high school, I was an average student, I’m not on the worship team at church, and I’m not moving anywhere to further the kingdom of God. I do get to watch all those people though. I get to observe them as they take on the responsibilities of their roles and I get to be there to encourage them when they need it most. I see people who are falling apart. I see people who are living on cloud nine. I see people who need a hug or an encouraging word and I see people who need a gentle nudge of a reminder that they need to come back down to earth. I am the goofy sidekick. I am the best friend of the girl who gets the guy. I am the comedic relief and the girl with all the random facts and jokes.

I am all those things, but I also have the biggest heart. I don’t live in the spotlight and I don’t want to. Even if I do become a famous published author, blogger, and or YouTube star like I’d like to be, then I’ll still just be the girl in the shadows. I’ll go to interviews and be super awkward. I’ll win awards and be complimented on my work and I’ll find someway to turn those things into something I could praise someone else for. If I win an award, then I’ll say it’s only because of my fans and my friends and family, not because it’s the thing to say, but because it’s true. If I ever become a successful author or musician, then it will be because of the people in my life whom I get to watch be successful in their own roles in life.

To be perfectly honest, if I ever become famous for anything, then it’s either going to be because I’m a major fangirl or because I write about the people I watch and observe. Actually, it’ll probably be for both reasons. I can’t really have one without the other. I am the sidekick living in the shadows, because my role in life is to geek out about fandoms and to observe the people around me while loving and caring for them deeply because I’ve learned how to from the fandoms God has allowed me to be a part of. I’m a fangirl. I live in the shadows. I’m not special or talented. I am just me and me is just fine!