I usually draft a post and re-read it several times before I actually go public. I don't sit around obsessing over it, or changing it twenty times, but I try to make sure there are no glaring errors and that the thoughts presented can actually hold water.
I'm not doing that tonight. I'm just typing from the hip. I'm sad. Another person who's been a fixture in my life, my family's life, has lost his battle with the "c" word. Another great one has passed from among us. There was no miracle. There was suffering, and waiting, and much prayer, but he has succumbed nonetheless.
The past couple of years have brought about a landslide of losses for my family, big ones that leave unsightly gashes in the side of the mountain. I suppose it comes to this, for everyone who lives a reasonably long life—this growing certainty that you are a shrinking percentage of the population. It's never easy to lose a loved one; perhaps the loss is even more difficult to comprehend and accept when the person who is taken leaves a legacy of hope, patience, strength, and courage. This fellow who ultimately lost his battle won many, many skirmishes. He smiled when others would have frowned, pressed on when many would have given in. He seized every moment he was given, grasping its hand and pumping it up and down with genuine joy. He inspired me, and all who knew him.
I must remember his example when I'm feeling sorry for myself, feeling defeated by what is likely a small matter in the big picture—I must embrace this glorious, wonderful gift of life and never depreciate it with petty pouting. I must take this loss, although it is the latest in a long list of losses, and I must hold it up to the light so it takes on a soft, warm glow—the glow of the man whose memory it represents. I must be thankful.
If I do all that, it will be the least of what I can do. Because, you see, I am here to do those things.
(Another thing I must do? I must re-read The Reason for God by Timothy Keller*. I recommend it to everyone. To those who believe in our savior, it will strengthen your faith. And those of you who just aren't sure, but can't deny that no one leaves this spinning blue orb in quite the same form they had when they inhabited it? I especially recommend it to you.)
*Thanks for sharing that book, DK!