I don’t know about you but I tend to assume I have 80 good years and if I don’t get that many then I’ve been cheated.
This week we had a tragedy in our church when one of our friends and church leaders died suddenly in the early hours of Monday morning at the age of 52. John was a gracious and wonderful man and will be missed greatly by all who knew him. It has rocked our community and I can only imagine how devastating it has been for his family.
I lay awake for a couple of hours that night pondering many things, one of which was my assumption that ’80 years is my birthright’ or what I am entitled to. Its a curious assumption… I don’t know why I see things that way.
My brother in law was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease and barring a miracle he will slowly deteriorate over the next 5 or 6 years until he can no longer function. He hasn’t hit fifty yet… Then there’s an ex student currently battling some pretty heavy cancer in his late 30’s.
I am noticing that old age isn’t a ‘given’ and despite my expectations I may not get there either. I don’t think it changes anything in how I live day to day, but it does cause me to be grateful for the time I have rather than to simply take it for granted and fritter the days away, or complain about stuff that doesn’t really matter anyway.
A sudden and unexpected death catches us all off guard and in some ways its good to jolted and reminded that there are no guarantees in this life.
What has been really good is to see the way the church has swung into action to offer support and care for one of their community in need. If one measure of a church is their love for one another then I think it has been a very good week in that regard.
And yet while I ponder this and consider my own mortality, a really good bloke is dead and his family is without him. I don’t think there are ever any easy answers to questions of ‘why’ or ‘what’ in these times and we will be disappointed and frustrated if we try and make sense of the mystery that is both life and death.
I have the privilege of conducting the funeral on Monday and I hope it doesn’t sound odd to say that I am looking forward to it. While it will be a time of sadness I always find it inspiring to celebrate the life of someone who has lived well and about whom it’d be hard to speak a bad word.
I must admit that I’ve been thinking about how many years I may or may not have on this planet recently.
A very close friend of mine passed away from a massive heart attack a couple of months back. He was just 45.
I like to think that because I keep fit and my body is in reasonable condition I should be alright for a while, but that doesn’t take into account the homicidal bus drivers that I encounter while I’m out on my bike keeping in shape. It could all be over tomorrow.
I suppose that whenever I go, it’s a reasonable assumption that I’m already over half way through the years I’ve been assigned.
While I don’t want to go anywhere just yet, I am comforted by the fact that if something was to happen to me, I know for sure that our church family would be there for those I leave behind. In the mean time, I’m determined to live a full life and to spend increasingly smaller amounts of time concerning myself with stuff that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
I worked out a few years ago just how much time I’ve got left. People wonder why I get up early, exercise a lot and get on with life. Every day is a gift and I’m going to be fit enough to live every minute of it.