grieving the loss of a friend

With sorrow I say goodbye to really the best friend in my life, other than my wife (and I have two great sisters). He was best in that he was a true friend through and through, though we kind of lost touch over the years. I was so honored to be best man at his wedding, and then he at mine. His wife Velda is special too, and all the family, a large one. I wish we would have lived closer to each other. All our lives end up being busy, and we lose track of good friends.

Ed, I can still hear your voice. You left a great legacy. Gone too soon. Will see you soon.

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Edwin R. Good’s obituary.

saying all you would like to say

I know that wisdom makes us keep our mouths shut, and not say much of what we might think at the time. Proverbs, and perhaps the most proverb like book of the New Testament, James, makes that clear.

There is much one would like to say though, which might be good, even indeed wisdom gathered over a lifetime, including from one’s failures, falls, and about the grace God extended. Of course our lives are never done until our last breath. As long as we have sound mind, and up to the point we have, we should be learning right up to the very end. And we want to pass on what might be good, and what indeed is good from God on to others, especially to our loved ones, our immediate family.

One thing for sure: All I would like to say becomes more refined and limited over time. On many issues over which I might have some strong opinions, I won’t necessarily say much, because I don’t want any of that to mute what I consider to be of “first importance.” And actually that thought can help refine my own thinking on secondary matters. The gospel is first and foremost, and while centered in Jesus, in his death on the cross, and his resurrection, its outcome and concern from that is as big as all life. So that, while we need to tread softly and wisely, we do need to speak gently and humbly concerning important issues like abortion, racism, the environment, and with ever a ready ear to listen well.

The big thing for me though is to help others with what gift I have in trying to communicate what I’ve learned over a lifetime. Even as I seek to continue to learn well from and in and through Jesus.

looking toward the end

Sometimes there seems to be no answers, or the prospects don’t look good. Maybe it’s telltale signs, or even possible indications that our time may be drawing near. It is amazing how resilient we humans can be, but we’re also so fragile in this life.

We will naturally do what we can to prolong our lives and make them better, but we can’t escape reality, as the years go by, and seem to hasten on. We likely will take a good look at our lives with some, and even maybe much lament, but also with understanding, and even thanksgiving to God for God’s goodness in his grace and mercy in the midst of it.

It is important that we think in terms of how we end well, or live life now, whatever age we are, because our mortal existence is uncertain and death is certain, unless of course the Lord returns prior to that. I think most importantly we should want to make first priority, love within our family. Where relationships may have been hurt, we need to seek healing. And we simply need to be present with others. Not on our computers or phones, but really present with them. And above all, we need to pray.

Of course we also need to be committed to a church, part of a fellowship or communion of believers in Christ. Meeting regularly for teaching and worship, and participating with each other in small groups, or however our church practices that, sometimes in the meetings themselves. And we need to be drawing near to God ourselves, daily, and all throughout the day.

All of this we want to do in prayer, and with God’s help. In the love of God, loving others. In the word, and in prayer. Trying to leave a blessing behind for those who follow us, a spiritual blessing, though where we can be a help materially can be good as well. All of this as always, in and through Jesus.