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Faith: The secret of life

A reflection on the last year.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

One of the realities of being a pastor is fielding questions from parishioners. One such question is, “What is the secret of life?”

When posed with this question, what pops into my mind are the lyrics from an old Faith Hill song, "The Secret of Life." The lyrics relate the secret of life to many familiar things, like savoring a good cup of coffee, watching Monday Night Football, or adages like simply "keeping your eye on the ball."

Over the last year, I’ve had many opportunities to ponder this seemingly simple question.

The Rev. Drew Bakken
The Rev. Drew Bakken

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Let’s face it - 2020 was not an easy year for anyone. As I sit back and reflect on this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a comment I hear often is that one thing it gave us was the simple yet valuable gift of extra time. Because of this unexpected gift, we had time to just be still and reflect on what is important in our lives.

For example, many of us had time to recognize and savor the relevance of friends and family in our lives. We also had an opportunity to take time for ourselves, realizing that perhaps we did not miss all the hustle and bustle of the world as much as we thought we might.

Now, as things/life are reopening, I wonder if I will fall back into old habits and forget the lessons I have learned during my time of COVID-19 quarantine? Time will tell.

My family and I recently said our final goodbyes to my Grandmother Eunice. She was 98 years old when she left us to be with her Lord and Savior. Of the many things I’ll miss about her, I will especially miss our weekly conversations on the phone each Sunday. Each week she would watch our worship services online, and then comment on the music and the sermon over the phone.

She was never too shy to share what she got out of the worship service or ask questions she may have from the sermon. At the conclusion of one of our phone calls, I asked her what she thought the secret of life is, and she read this to me:

Living Life, by Bonnie L. Mohr

"Life is not a race - but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “great job” to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and taketh. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you’ve been given, it is not accidental - search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself - plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know.

Live for today, and enjoy the moment."

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As we all know, life moves on, and the world keeps spinning. But as we begin to take those next steps toward living life without fear, we need to remember that we are not alone.

For me, the secret of life is the realization that God is always with us. In the midst of fear, pandemics, joy, laughter and tears, God is with us. God never leaves or abandons us, but walks with us - always.

For in the 28th chapter of Mathew, Jesus tells his disciples and us, "… I will be with you always, to the end of age."

That, my friends, is the secret of life for me.

Drew Bakken is pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

The Rev. Drew Bakken
The Rev. Drew Bakken

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