Yesterday was a very sad day, as I went to the funeral of an old family friend. He was such a wonderful, inspirational, loving person, and at one point I thought, you don’t even have to preach a sermon here, his whole life was one. Just last week, when my mum went to see him, he was lying on his bed struggling to breathe but the first thing he managed to do was to ask after me. “How’s Ruth?” Even now, that brings tears. Imagine being in so much suffering, and still thinking of others beyond yourself?
There have been several people (and many more that I don’t know of course) who have died in the past twenty plus years that make me think this: who can ever be as great as them? That is a very typically nostalgic thought on my part, but I feel the need to dwell with it for a time.
Everybody moves on, some dragging themselves through the grief of what is gone, some pushing the pain so deep down they almost forget it, and others just trying to be the best they can be, inspired by the greats they once knew.
What moved me about this man? So many things, but those that stand out as a lesson for me are these: his devoted marriage and family life, his passion for good music, his commitment to his church, his generosity and above all, his quiet love for Jesus Christ.
So, I know what I need to do: stop bemoaning what has gone, humbly pick up the mantle, and try, in small ways, to be one of the best. In memory of them.