Thoughtful, considerate, devoted, caring, advisor, friend. These are some of the words used to describe him then …
and now …
Just a couple of months ago we gathered to celebrate our 40th high school class reunion. How can it be that 40 years have passed, and how can it be that someone who seemed healthy and whole sporting his high school football jersey just a few months ago has been taken from us with little warning?
He worked the land that he loved. He made room in his barn to build our float for the parade. When chatting in a small group that sunny afternoon, he thoughtfully asked if those of us from out of town needed a place to spend the night. Caring and considerate, yes, his good character shone as bright as the sun that day. We chatted about the friendship our mothers shared. I remembered back to our 20th reunion. We had not had the opportunity to speak that evening; but as I left, he caught up with me at the door and told me how nice I looked, that the years had been kind. It’s odd, but I do remember what I wore that evening – a pink column dress with pink pumps. My hair still draped down the middle of my back but I had pulled it back in a french braid. A few streaks of gray gathered from my temples to join the back braid. We all had aged, but he took the time to greet me and say something special. I think that’s why I remember.
He was not the first of our classmates to leave this life, but I think we feel this deeply because of the recent bonding at our gathering. And at this stage in life, we have come to realize those things that are most important. There is no need to try and impress each other with our wealth and knowledge. Those things are temporal. This journey on earth is temporary, but we want to yell, “Come back!” While death may separate us for a while, relationships are eternal.
Our days here are limited. How can we know the number?
Yesterday, I hugged my 80-year-old mother a little tighter. I told her I loved her. I slid into the seat of my car and headed down the interstate to continue my life. Why? Because that’s what we are to do, and I prayed for wisdom to understand my days (Psalm 90:12).
Life is too short to live in disharmony, bitterness, and strife. I want that out of my heart. Love and forgiveness are important every day. And I like that song … “when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Rest in peace my classmate and friend. Until we meet again, I will remember to love and dance when I get the chance.
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Psalm 144:4 (NIV)