Friday, June 17, 2011

The Sharp Knife of a Short Life


We are going to a funeral of a young friend today.  Christian Cruz-Estrada is a young man from church who was baptized within the last year.  He didn't speak a whole lot of English, but where he lacked in communication skills, he made up for it in his facial expressions.  Every time we ran into him, either at church, at the grocery store, at the park, Christian had a smile as big as the grand canyon waiting for us.  His smile said I love you, I know you, and I am happy and excited to see you and a million other things all at once.  It always delighted me to see it.

The last time we saw Christian was at the swimming pool last week.  Christian was swimming with some of his friends, and I watched him from the deck as he realized Guy was at the pool too.  Now, Christian is entering 7th grade and Guy is entering Kindergarten, but Christian and Guy knew each other from the Fathers and Sons Campout.  

Most boys that age probably would not take time to make a little boy like Guy feel special.  In fact, we see neighbor boys there, and often we can barely get them to acknowledge our presence.  But not Christian.  I watched as this sweet boy poured out that brilliant smile on Guy--a smile that took his entire face to create.  Then he gave Guy an enthusiastic thumbs up and nodded his head.  I couldn't hear their words, but I read "Yes, I know you!  We are swimming, isn't this fun?"  

Guy immediately ran to me to tell me that he saw someone from the campout.  He was thrilled.  This moment really stood out in my mind, even as it was happening.  And now I know why.  It would be the last time we would see that generous smile in this life.

Coincidentally, I recently downloaded the song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry and have been listening to it a lot lately.  I think that the writer of this song got a lot of things right, but one thought I have to disagree with comes in this line:  "Who would have thought forever could be severed...by the sharp knife of a short life."

That line stands out to me, because I don't think that forever can be severed.  At least it doesn't have to be.  With the blessings of temples, the Lord's intention for families to be forever can be realized by every person who has ever lived and who will ever live on earth.  I am confident that Christian is in good hands now, as I believe that everyone returns to their maker when this life is finished.  He is also in the good hands of his aunt and uncle who will take his name to the temple to have work done for him to ensure that his family ties will not be lost.

At the end of the video above, it shows the family embracing. Some people would interpret this to say that the singer doesn't die, because she says "Gather up your tears, put 'em in your pocket, save 'em for a time when you're really gonna need 'em."  But when I watch it, I see a family that cannot be separated, even by death.

Although we are mourning the death of this sweet and tender young boy today, we rejoice that our Savior Jesus Christ has made it possible for all mankind to return home together.  I don't think it coincidence that Christian embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ before his death. I am confident that he "had just enough time", and I am grateful that we were able to bask in his light, even if for just a short time in mortality.


If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh, uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white, when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little, cold finger, I’ve
Never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand, there’s a
Boy here in town says he’ll, love my forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar
They're worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when your dead how people start listenin’

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh (uh, oh)
The ballad of a dove (uh, oh)
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need them, oh

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls



19 comments:

  1. That is the one thing that makes death OK. We know where we are going and we know that families are forever. I share that with my friends because that gives me such great comfort. I feel sad that not every person can know of this amazing truth. Families are Forever! What an astounding blessing our loving Father in Heaven and His Son have provided together for us.

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  2. Thank you Jocelyn for this Post. I so needed to hear this. Live is just a part of our eternal lives. I too Loved Christians smile and personality he was one special Happy, radiant fun loving Boy. and I am honored to have known him and have him touch our lives. Language my put up barriers sometimes. But love doesn't. Christian Now has a different mission and did not have to live a long life to fulfill his mission here on earth. But my heart and prayers go out o his Mom and family

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  3. What a hard loss for his family and your church family, but you are right, he is in good hands now. May I ask what happened? Was he ill or was there an accident of some sort? I only ask because sometimes we can take lessons from situations like these that help to ease the pain a little. We will be thinking of him!

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  4. Sorry for all the grammar and spelling mistakes :-)

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  5. So sad to hear about this loss of a young friend, Jocelyn.
    So happy that we know what we know...and for the comfort that brings.

    Life is a strange thing. Today is a uniquely joyful day for me and my family...a uniquely sad one for Christian's.

    But the Lord has His hand in it all, and I am grateful for that.

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  6. For those wondering...Christian's passing was completely unexpected. From what I know, he was sitting on the couch at home while his mother cooked dinner when he died. He was rushed to the ER and attempts were made to resuscitation him for two hours without success. I suppose I might hear a cause of death today at the funeral, if they know one.

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  8. a touching tribute to a special young man...the gospel and the plan of resurrection certainly brings comfort at times like this.

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  9. Thank you for sharing, Jocelyn! That was beautifully written.

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  10. How sad for his family and those who loved him! It always makes me feel better to know that those who are mourning at least have the comfort of knowing where he is and that they'll see him again.
    Thank you for sharing this, Jocelyn. And for the song, too. I adore music; it's a huge spiritual medium for me and I am always wishing there were more poetic and meaningful songs to go with all the great tunes out there. This one is three for three. Thank you:)

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  11. Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like you were very lucky to know such an amazing young man.

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  12. My prayers and thoughts go out to the young man's family. Thank you for sharing, I think you said it perfectly!

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  13. Thanks for sharing this, Jocelyn. I'll be holding my little ones a little tighter, and giving them extra kisses tonight.

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  14. So sad, when life is taken so young. It just puts everything in perspective. But it doen't make it easier. Keep us posted.

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  15. Thank you for your post - I'd only ever met Christian once or twice, but what a remarkable young man. At a missionaries homecoming picnic in our ward, he took the time to play with and push our sons on the swing set. "What a nice young man!" I remember thinking when I saw him interacting with my boys and the other children. It really touched my heart.

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  16. what a tragedy. at least he got the chance and took it to accept the gospel while here on the earth. he sounds like a remarkable young man and will probably work wonders on the other side of the veil. it's still extremely sad but how blessed we really are that forever can't be severed. ever.

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  17. Life is short and when people die young it is a harsh reminder. It is an amazing comfort to have the gospel and know that we will be with our loved ones again, but I still can't imagine losing my son so young...I feel for his parents. Thank you for this post. I have a family member that is living her last days out as we speak and a co-worker that was only 16 that passed away in an accident last week. It really puts life in perspective. I love that song but have never seen the video. The ending is the best part. The world probably does look at it in a very different way than all of us lucky Saints though.

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  18. I learned at the funeral that Christian wanted to have TEN KIDS when he grew up. What a sweetheart! It was very evident that he loved children!

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  19. Aw, Jocelyn, I am so sorry. This makes me sad...young ones never need to pass so soon. They haven't even touched the beginning of their lives...

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