Let me ask you something: How are you doing today? How was your week? I admit my week was tough. Corona restrictions limit how we can interact at school. Classes are all online. I have had constant sore throats, ear infections, and extreme fatigue for months. But the toughest part of this week was something else entirely: My former youth group leader Dominik died in a hiking accident. He was an experienced climber and on a tour with two other guys. Everything was as usual. But when they were walking back from the hike, Dominik slipped off the trail and fell. By the time the others got to him, he was dead. He left behind a wife and a young daughter.
I cried this week for the loss of a good man and role model. I called my close friends and family and we cried together. And I felt like caving in. But then I realized I also have a reason to celebrate: To remember how Dominik lived in the moment while walking towards a home that will last forever. To admire the hope he carried despite his difficult past. And to pick up the life songs he had collected to pass them on. For example, he once drove with some of us teens through a roundabout so many times that a police officer pulled him over and did an alcohol test. We all laughed: He wasn’t drunk, he was just enjoying life to the full.
His life should not have ended on that mountain slope. But I am at peace because I believe he is home with God and because every day of his life was valuable.
So, as a tribute to Dominik, I made a collage illustration. It’s called “The Climb” for obvious reasons. He’s climbed all his life. Now I’d like to think he’s arrived at the summit.
I don’t know where you’re at now. But whatever you feel, how about taking a step back and appreciating how far you’ve come. Even in tough times, you are alive, and every day you have is a gift. Remember, celebrate, and live!