The Autumn of Life

 I doubt any of us want to sit down and dwell on the fact that life is short. Yet reminders are all around us, particular those of us who are in the "second half", or more, of our time on this earth.

As I write this I am sitting in a hotel room in Indianapolis, Indiana. It's October 10, 2019. I am here to celebrate the life and mourn the death of a friend, Steve Ohman. He died Monday after a long, but too short, battle with cancer. 

Tomorrow morning before I head to the funeral home I am heading north to visit my in-laws. Dad has been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year now, and it will be great to see them. I know they know I love them, but I don't think they really have an idea of how precious they are to me. They accepted me as part of their family when they had every reason not to. They allowed me to marry my best friend and love of my life, even though I was really just a know nothing punk. They modeled love and grace and kindness, and I owe them a debt I can never repay.

And then comes Monday. It was on a Monday, October 14, 2002 to be exact, that I saw my son Derek alive for the last time. 17 years is a long time ago, only it seems like just yesterday. And while the anniversary always brings some pain, it remains a gift. A reminder of how foolish I can be with my time and my energy. A reminder that you really never do know what the next moment will bring. A reminder that every day is a short breath of time you can never get back once it's lost. It's also a reminder of the gift of friends, who are there to lift you up when things go sideways. My friend Steve's wife Sherri was one of those gifts when Derek died. She was a faithful prayer warrior who lifted us up to heaven when we needed it most, and the letter she sent shortly after his passing is more valuable than a mountain of gold. Steve's parents Dave and Marilyn have become dear to us through the Ohman families trial, and have been a picture of faith and grace to us.

I don't pretend to know why things like these happen. But I have never been more convinced that despite why I might think is unfair, there is a God that cares and has a purpose. I have experienced too much peace through trials and too much grace through hardship to think otherwise. You may think I am delusional, but I think not. You may say that belief in God is just my crutch, just something to make me feel better, but you'll never convince me. A God that the human mind can completely understand is not big enough to be God at all. There is too much evidence, if you are willing to look for it. I know I will never convince everyone, and that's ok. That's not my job. My job is to serve, and love, and give back the gifts I have been given the best way I can.

If you take nothing else away from all this, just remember to make the most of every moment, to love as hard as you can, to forgive the ones that don't deserve it, to show mercy to those who need it, and never, never, never forget to count your blessings, no matter how small. Autumn comes quickly, and passes by even faster. Live a life that matters while you can.

- DC



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