We lost a neighbor all of a sudden the other night. Didn't move out -- rather moved on to a better life in a better place. Something like that makes one think about their own role in life and what they have done within their own life.
John was a very nice person. I wasn't close to him - we haven't lived in this community all that long. But in the time we've been here I have admired his commitment to his neighbors and the condo association. I guess that the closest I came to dealing with him personally was at the Condo Christmas party. we exchanged small gifts and then, if we felt led, we traded them with others. He had gotten a 2009 Farmer's Almanac and I had something I didn't care for and I asked him if he would trade. He grinned and said 'sure' and so I have an almanac on my bedstand to remind me of him. I recall that one day he and his wife Joyce asked me if we
would like to try out their church and I asked which one they went to. "The Baptist Church in town," they said and I responded, "But I'm a Methodist" and he grinned and said, "The roof won't fall in if a Methodist goes to a Baptist church."
It set me to thinking: life is pretty short. And what has one done with their life. I look back and realize that I have done a lot of things and in their own way, each of them has been an adventure. And everything seemed to reinforce what I was going to do next. I suppose life is what falls in our laps -- or is what we make of it. I have never had a job that in one way or another wasn't rewarding and fun. (In my case, the exception might have been the job I had for a week with RKO Radio movies where all I did was throw cans of movie film around all day. That was hard physical work and I lasted only a week. The fact remains, someone had to do it and I'm sure someone later, after me, found it rewarding. But not me) However, I've had a zillion things in life that were rewarding and good.
I've conducted a lot of funerals in my life. I've lost good friends and members of the family. but I've never been involved in a service for someone that was a total failure. Every one of them found some satisfaction and joy in the life they lived. I think of people like Joni Eareckson Tada who at a young age became a quadraplegic as a result of a swimming accident. She didn't let it stop her - one of her great gifts in life has been holding a paintbrush or pencil in her teeth to create real works of art. And she has credited it to her faith in God.
I like to think that God is always opening doors in life. Not as an escape - but as an opportunity to do something new and exciting. Who knows what tomorrow holds - but I know if I were to die today there's something better in the future. Even if I live another ten or twenty years there will still be exciting times ahead.
I'd like to think that my friend in the condo had that same sense of joy in life. That there things to do - life to life - love to share - and faith in the future. And that is good.