Over the weekend, a friend of mine died suddenly. He was 67 years old. A lean man, he appeared to be in relatively good health and walked everyday to and from his activities. He’d been seriously ill back in January (with a difficult cold and possibly flu?), so ill he’d been unable to do anything (including get out of bed) for several days.
This picture to the right was taken just two weeks ago. I won’t pretend I knew him well, but I saw him last Friday. We were associates working together on a local commission. We had an excellent working relationship and he was always cordial and generous to me, the newbie. I don’t know who will fill his spot on this particular commission, but no matter how capable the person is, he or she cannot “fill” this man’s shoes.
Many times on this blog, I’ve written posts about death. Most recently, here and here. In my view, death is a necessary subject for deep reflection. If we act as though death doesn’t or won’t happen, can we really enjoy and embrace life? As with my friend, death sometimes comes suddenly.
There’s a website called deathclock.com where you can enter some specific data, press the appropriate button and the website computes the projected day of your death as well as proclaiming how many seconds you have left to live. We know it doesn’t really work like that, but it’s fun to play along.
In Job 14, Job queries God about death. This is an amazing passage and well worth considering in any discussion about death. In part, Job acknowledges (verse 5) that man’s days are numbered and determined by God. (Job fails to mention anything like a deathclock website.) Still, both the ancient Job and the website agree: life slips away too quickly.
Today, I honor the memory of this man, my friend and colleague. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.