July 22 is a day that hits me hard every year. It was twenty-five years ago this past Sunday that one of my college roommates was hit and killed in a car accident. Every year my mind and my heart go right to that day in 1988 and I'm reminded of the impact it had on my life.
Patty was a bit quiet. She was kind of the "outsider" of the group of four of us. Not because we didn't like her but because she was quiet and hard to get to know. A few nights before Patty's accident, the three of us decided to reach out to her and try to get to know her a little better. We all cleared our calendars and decided to have a girls night out! We had a roommate picture taken because the local fire station was having a fundraiser and they were taking group photographs. We thought it would be fun to get a professional photo taken together as roommates so we dressed up in our best clothes and did our makeup (you can imagine how big our hair was in 1988!) and headed out to the fire station. Afterwards, we danced in the living room to the new album from Midnight Oil, made popcorn, giggled and had a really fun time. The walls were coming down and Patty was starting to open up. It was a really fun night for all of us.
After hanging up the phone we stood in the kitchen, hugging one another and crying. It all seemed so unreal. We couldn't understand how she had just been in the house not two hours prior to this - and now she was gone. I went upstairs to her bedroom and the towel she used for her shower that morning was hanging on her doorknob. It was still wet. I sat in her room holding her towel and sobbed.
This was the first time in years that I had thought about God. After being raised in church, I was now a "free" woman - doing what I wanted, skipping church, not praying and I don't even think I owned a Bible. But I knew about heaven. I knew about God. I knew about Jesus. I knew about hell. And now I was wondering to which place Patty went that morning. Did she know Jesus? Why hadn't I asked her about this? Why didn't it matter to me before this horrible accident? I was questioning everything.
The photo we had taken of the four of us came in a few days later and was the last photo taken of our sweet friend, Patty. To this day, I believe it still hangs in her parent's den in West Virginia. I wish I had a copy of it, but I'm so thankful that her parents have that memory of her - with a big smile across her face, all dressed up with her friends.
Every year at this time I'm reminded of how fragile life can be. We learned just this week that we can never be sure if we will see tomorrow after watching what happened to those in Aurora, CO. Life is brief, but eternity is forever. We can never take our lives for granted. I want to encourage you to live your life as if today may be your last and final day on earth. How would you live? With whom would you share your faith? Who, in your life, needs to know Jesus? Do you know Him?
As it turned out, I did not really know Jesus in 1988. I knew about Him, but I never gave Him my heart. I never knew all that He had done for me and even though I went to church as a young girl, I never made Jesus the Lord of my life until much later in life. I now know how important knowing Him is. I pray you do, too.
If you want to know more about who Jesus is and why you need to know Him, please visit www.ChristianityExplored.org.