Miller was laid to rest today. Love. Friends. Family. Honor. Tears. A sense of “graduation.” Miller was 21 years old, but was mature, wise and kind far beyond those 21 short years. We’ve been friends with his mother and father for about 15 years so we’ve had the chance to watch Miller and his younger brother grow up. Little boys to awkward middle schoolers to sure-but-uncertain teenagers to fine young men. Both young men have been quick with a smile, a firm handshake and a genuine and comfortable, “Hello, Mr. Horton. How are you?” They have never been the kind who would “duck” an adult so as to avoid the encounter. They come from good stock.
Earlier this week when we heard that Miller had what was most likely a stroke and died of a brain hemorrhage the next day, we were devastated. A parent’s worst nightmare was unfolding right before our eyes. I had to get my tears under control before I could call his father. My wife asked me what I was gong to say. “I don’t know, but they need to know that we love them and that our hearts are breaking with theirs.” Typical of Miller’s father, he blessed and comforted me during that call, not the other way around.
Many people will miss Miller. Such was the life of this young man. He touched quite a few lives, all for the better. In that sense he lives on and his touch will expand in the same way ripples in a pond expand. He was planning to be a doctor. He was an organ donor (eight people have been recipients). His intent to be a healer is being fulfilled. The ripples continue to expand.
I’m not here to eulogize or to call God’s judgment into question. I’m here to humbly state the obvious and ask a question: Life is short and time flies. Do you have your priorities straight?
Here’s a thinking exercise for you: number your days. Create a “spreadsheet” like the one below. Across the top list yourself and the names of those nearest and dearest to you. Down the far left column list the next 20 or so years (depending on your age you may want to go much longer). Then fill in the ages for everyone by year. Please note how old they will be when you are at a given age. You, and they, will be there before you know it! What will have happened during the intervening time? What progress will have been made? What difference will have been made? What makes sense to start/stop/continue doing right now? May you gain a heart of wisdom.
|Year||You||Other #1||Other #2||Other #3||Other #4|
|2010||Current age||Current age||Current age||Current age||Current age|
|2011||Current age+1||Current age+1||Current age+1||Current age+1||Current age+1|
|2012||Current age+2||Current age+2||Current age+2||Current age+2||Current age+2|
|2013||Current age+3||Current age+3||Current age+3||Current age+3||Current age+3|
|2014||Current age+4||Current age+4||Current age+4||Current age+4||Current age+4|
|2015||Current age+5||Current age+5||Current age+5||Current age+5||Current age+5|
|2016||Current age+6||Current age+6||Current age+6||Current age+6||Current age+6|
|2017||Current age+7||Current age+7||Current age+7||Current age+7||Current age+7|
|2018||Current age+8||Current age+8||Current age+8||Current age+8||Current age+8|
|2019||Current age+9||Current age+9||Current age+9||Current age+9||Current age+9|
|2020||Current age+10||Current age+10||Current age+10||Current age+10||Current age+10|
Twenty-one years. That’s twenty-one birthdays. Twenty-one Christmas Eves/mornings. Twenty-one summers. Twenty-one baseball/football/soccer seasons. Approximately nineteen years of dealing with a little brother. Twenty-one years to treasure the blessing of watching a son grow into a man. It seems frightfully short.
In Other Words…
“This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel,
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.” – J.R.R.Tolkien
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours.” – King Richard in Richard II by William Shakespeare
“Time, time, time, see what’s become of me,
While I looked around,
For my possibilities;
I was so hard to please.
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.” – Paul Simon, Hazy Shade Of Winter
In The Word…
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12