Death forces reflection.
It has been a week of death for me.
Four precious people, lost in the same week.
Three funerals on Thursday.
One more yesterday afternoon.
Four people with widely differing life experiences and ends.
One, a young mother of two, shot and killed as she drove to work. A friend who walked alongside us to make the community better for everyone, especially the children. A person of compassion, but much more. An advocate for renewal, justice and hope. Read a local Dallas news opinion about this amazing community leader here.
One, a homeless man with a number of difficult, chronic health issues, died at his new home. No longer forced to live on the mean, tough streets of our city, the ill-health created by so many years out there finally caught up with him.
One, a much beloved grandmother and the mother of one of my good friends and team members who works with us in bringing legal assistance to the poor who can't otherwise afford counsel. A woman who spent her time, her life and her resources serving, connecting, leading, fighting for others and loving everyone in the process.
One, a bright, handsome teenager, a young man who couldn't see himself the way all of the rest of us saw him--so full of potential, brilliance, future-- ended his own life at home. He battled hard. His parents, brothers, grandparents, friends did all they knew to do, but in the end he determined that life hurt too much to go on.
All represent hard, tragic losses to our world. Each so very different in circumstance. Each with completely unique stories.
Yet, still all so much the same.
The passage has occurred for each of them.
In each case I found myself thinking about that small space separating "here" from the approaching "there."
My faith tells me that each has found the perfect, the prepared place "over there." Peace follows this realization.
Strangely though, these losses force me to focus more intently than ever on my "here and now."
"Here" I find my calling.
I can ill-afford to take anyone for granted "here."
"Here" is found the work we have to do among and with one another.
"Here" is where we make sense out of our coming passage to "there."
"Here" is so very short, and so very important.
For those of us left on the "here" side of the passage, death forces us to reflect and to grapple with the meaning and the purpose of our time.