This weekend I read a moving account of a young college senior with lupus, Ariane Patterson, who suffered a fatal heart attack last week in the middle of her college class. It was her 21st birthday that day, and seven hours earlier, she sent out a Twitter message to all of her friends, “Thank you God for another year of life.”
We never really know when the unexpected will happen, interrupting our lives, changing them forever, or perhaps even closing the door on this life and opening the door into the next. It seems Ariane had a clear handle on her faith, and understood the frailty of her life. Although most lupus patients do not suffer life-threatening symptoms like Ms. Patterson, many may understand a little of what she was feeling that day.
On milestone dates, anniversaries, and at other memorable times, these are good times to be thankful: to remember the blessings we have, to focus on the good things around us, to recall the things for which we are thankful. Even the simple and obvious things should not be taken for granted. Even life itself, is a gift. I think Ariane understood that!
I would hope I remember daily to thank God for my life, for another day, and for the amazing gifts I have. A loving husband, wonderful children, grandchildren, enough provision to meet my real needs, friends, family, a great church, a nice home, and a loving, forgiving God.
I must echo the words of this insightful young college girl with lupus, so simply and profoundly expressed. She was able to finish that fateful day last week by thanking her God in person. The senior campus minister related that an index card found in her backpack contained a note, “God, whatever you want me to do today, I will do it and whatever you don’t want me to do today, I won’t.” How full her heart must have been to be able to personally express her thankfulness for life to the Giver of life before the day came to its end.
If you would like to read more about Ariane’s story in a North Carolina newspaper, please click here. To see pictures of Ariane, click here to view a photo tribute on the web page of the private Christian college she attended.
Looking ahead at 2012, I want to remember daily to thank God for each new day of life! There have been a few close calls in my past, when I did not know which side of glory my day would end on.
Yes this is a sobering story, but something about Ariane just touches me and reminds me to cultivate and water my own thankful spirit within.