Death Doesn’t Mean It Is Finished
January 18, 2013 1 Comment
In one sense it was an opportunity. In another sense, it was a tragic moment. I was sitting inside the small library of a small community, one where there’s only one road that goes right through town, buildings on both sides and woods behind. I was studying how to work with people with mental disabilities when we all heard them. Sirens. One siren, then another, then another and each of us in this small library became suddenly aware something wasn’t right.
As we stood and watched them drape a cloth over the small sports car that had tragically been crushed under a large propane gas truck, we we’re stunned. Chatter began to pick up and I learned this man who had been suddenly killed in this car wreck was a prominent figure in the community. He was an eye doctor. Everyone knew him or knew of him. He was raised in this community and went on to become a popular figure.
My pastoral side came out and I began to listen. Not to gossip, but to hearts. Immediately people started talking to me because they needed someone to talk to. I didn’t tell them I was a pastor. I didn’t let on that I wanted to listen to their life stories. Yet they came. They cried. They laughed. They simply poured out their hearts to this stranger. There were folks that went to school with him, folks who knew his family, folks who had done business with him, and folks who dined with him. They talked about who he “used” to be and not who he “is”. He legacy started on the streets of this small town. His body stopped moving but the memories he created began running.
I sat there and listened to folks and I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to the sudden tragic end a person can come to. The very second the last breath is taken and the blood stops running and the body stops moving is immediate. There is no do-over. There is no second chance. Obviously my mind raced to imagine how my own body would stop but my legacy will begin. So many thoughts flooded my soul and all I could garner energy for was to be an ear and a direct line for intercessory prayer. I’m not even sure if I was doing it right
Most folks won’t talk too much about me or you while we are alive but the moment we take our last breath, word will spread of who we were. The legacy we had been writing will be read. “The End” will be written on the last page of our book. It will be published the moment we are gone and folks will read of what we have written. As I type this, I have finished my time in the community library and now sit and a very popular pizzeria (that serves the best turkey club in the whole world) and I can hear the talk through the whole place of this man. So much has been said of him and in the coming days so much more will be said.
But to simply put it, my thoughts go to what will be said of me. What will my legacy say of me. Everyone of us must dwell on the so-called dash that resides between two years on our tombstone and wonder how can we make the most of that dash so when that last year is printed, more people talk about that dash than they do the years.
Death doesn’t mean it’s finished!