Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Prayer #28: Mere Mortals

Prayer #28: Mere Mortals

Mike shared a story at guitar group tonight about one of his students who passed away from cancer over the weekend. The young man was only 22. His name was Joe Mills.

Joe developed cancer last spring, but was determined to finish his degree. He e-mailed Mike his assignments from his hospital bed. And though he had to take a leave of absence in the spring, Joe came back during fall semester to finish and graduate.

That's grit. That's determination. My hat is off to you, Joe. You made the most of your earthly time, which is more than many people can say.

This is especially poignant for me as my trip to Claude approaches. Claude -- my dear, sweet, 83-year-old friend. His vitality and energy dazzle me, but I try to stay realistic.

Time is finite. Claude is finite. The day will come when Claude dies a ripe old age, having lived a ripe old life, and I will mourn some, but not much, for his existence was exemplary.

I don't let these musings get in the way of enjoying our time together now. That would be wasteful. But the thought crosses my mind on occasion, especially when I hear of untimely deaths like Joe's.

Had Joe skirted chance and not gotten cancer, what age would he have reached? Would he have a family? Where would he move, shop, work? Would he have old friends and young friends? How would he spend his retirement? Would he be happy more days than not?

The inspiring thing about Claude is that he knows the gift he's received -- one helluva lucky hand. Good health, strong marriage, an eager and agile mind, and plenty of time.

And the inspiring thing about Joe is that he seemed to know the gift he was giving -- an example of how to make the most of a small budget, and accomplish a youthful milestone even as youth was disintegrating.

I pray for Claude and Joe tonight, that both men become reconciled to their lives and deaths, and that they understand the human construct of time as a gross understatement.

God doesn't recognize dates, years, minutes. He measures the soul's depth and breadth instead. Both these men are off the charts.

An extra prayer for all those facing mortality tonight, Lord. Show them it's merely the next step, and the unimaginable, unfathomable fulfillment of Your timeless promise, which we merely glimpse on earth.

Amen.

P.S. I'll be dark for a few days while I'm in Marianna, Florida, with the Reeses. Catch you next Tuesday!

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