Yes, I know the Washington Parish Free Fair is happening just after this issue is published and we will be camping out there. This is our one annual time to take the week off and relax spending time with great grand-children. And yes, this month is also noted for Halloween (I know all you Christians shudder when that word is mentioned). We however celebrate our oldest great-granddaughter Isabella’s birthday on that day, who was born by being labor-induced October 31 five years ago. We couldn’t talk the doctor out of his (I guess) golf game the next day or she could have been born Nov. 1, All Saints Day.
In some other ways this has not been the greatest year for our family. My youngest sister Gayle passed away in April and wife Linda’s youngest sister Vicky passed away last month. It’s hard to lose anyone you know, but especially those relatives so close to your heart. In past years, I’ve lost both parents Charles and Mary and Linda has lost her father Nelson and a child, fifteen-year-old Khristy. Thankfully there is not a rule that says people should die in the order of their birth or we would know each time who was going next. “No one can control the wind or lock it in a box. No one has any say-so regarding the day of death . .” - Ecclesiastes 8:8-MESSAGE.
The Bible has many verses to consider when reaching our final days: Some good advice to us came from prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah who became deathly sick. He said: “. . . Put your affairs in order; you’re about to die–you haven’t long to live.” - 2 Kings 20:1-MESSAGE.
When talking about final days I always like to read Biblical Job and in these verses he is speaking out loud hoping God is listening: (5) “Mortals have a limited life span. You’ve already decided how long we’ll live–you set the boundary and no one can cross it. (6) So why not give us a break? Ease up! Even ditch-diggers get occasional days off. (7) For a tree there is always hope. Chop it down and it still has a chance– its roots can put out fresh sprouts. (8) Even if its roots are old and gnarled, its stump long dormant. (9) At the first whiff of water it comes to life, buds and grows like a sapling. (10) But men and women? They die and stay dead.” - Job 14:5-10-MESSAGE.
Both our sisters suffered long before passing. My sister Gayle was handicapped throughout her life on one side with a paralyzed arm and leg, but finally succumbed to cancer. Linda’s sister Vicky suffered with liver disease and being a long-time transplant patient was required to take anti-rejection drugs all her adult life until it finally failed. Neither ever complained about their situations. King David wrote these words: “For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting; I’ve taken the worst you can hand out, and I’ve had it.” - Psalms 88:15-MESSAGE. In my opinion this next verse applies to both: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” - Psalms 115:15-NIV.
Attending funerals make us face reality that death is inevitable: (1) “A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date. (2) You learn more at a funeral than at a feast– After all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it.” - Ecclesiastes 7:1-2-MESSAGE.
When you live right and are right with God there is nothing to fear because there is peace in death: “The right-living people are out of their misery, they’re finally at rest. They lived well and with dignity and now they’re finally at peace.” - Isaiah 57:2-MESSAGE.