What I’ve Learned from Adam | Choose Joy

I’ve been thinking about Adam a lot this last week. He died five years ago on the 5th; today he would have been 38 years old. I call the period of time between the 5th and the 10th the Week of Adam (it has not caught on yet), a time to celebrate his life. I’ve learned a lot from him, both because of his life and through his death, lessons that are valuable because of the pain and suffering that went into them.

1. Appreciate the Now

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This is the rock. I took a picture of it that morning.

We found out that Adam died late Sunday night. There was a concerning news story, and I did some sleuthing, eventually uncovering a name and a number that confirmed our fears. I didn’t sleep. My word had crumbled; I was in pieces. Early the next morning I went running, because that’s what I do. Regardless of the situation, I run. Not that running holds back tears. I passed this rock that morning, a rock with interesting growths that I’d passed about a hundred times before, promising myself each time that one day I would stop and really look at it. That morning I did; it occurred to me that there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. Appreciate the now, live in the moment.

2. Embrace Nature

Adam loved the outdoors. He died in the outdoors in a place that’s beautiful and peaceful (I’ve since visited the spot). The most beautiful spots aren’t the mansions or the castles, but the surrounding wide, wide world. Not that I would be opposed to visiting a castle. When you’re in that nature, breathe it in, love it. He would have loved Lizzy.

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Hiking in Moab to Adam’s rock, one year after he died.

3. Love Family

Adam was that one sibling that got along with everybody. I’ve since wondered how he could talk literature with me and science with Joseph and then hiking with Bonnie without a blink. Family was important to him. The week before he died, I spent some unexpected, precious afternoon hours with him. A tender mercy. The Lord knew I would need those moments. And the thing is, it wasn’t just me. It was all of us; we all had those moments with Adam just before he died.

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Adam’s always had a special place in his heart for his nieces and nephews.

4. Stay True to the Faith

No matter what was going on in Adam’s life, and some of it was tumultuous, he never became bitter, never turned his back on God, never used trials as a crutch to leave his faith behind. He believed it; he knew it. That’s a powerful example.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Find New Dreams

Not all dreams come true, and that’s okay. His career path (like mine, now that I come to think of it) was jagged, not a straight line. And when he did all he could do to make a dream come true, and it still remained elusive, he found new dreams. That’s an admirable trait.

6. Believe in Yourself

I had a conversation with Adam the week before he died that was extraordinarily personal, so I won’t repeat it, but he told me he believed in me. It made me realize that if he believed in me, then maybe there was something worth believing in, and I should believe in myself. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it.

7. Start Your Adventure

This harkens back to another conversation I had with him. He told me to start my adventure; it’s never too late to do something new or make a change. View it as an adventure instead of as awful, evil change. Your perspective will change.

I’m always learning more from Adam, even if he isn’t here. Grief doesn’t have to be something negative; it can be filled with love and hope and happiness. I opt for the happiness, because he’s never felt “gone.” He’s just not here. Away for the moment. But it’s only a moment.

Choose Joy.

—A

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