Last Thursday my forty-eight-year-old cousin, Tim passed out at his job in St. Joseph, Missouri and entered eternity with Jesus.
Tim was the youngest of all the cousins and I still think of him as being much younger than his true age. He grew up in the rural northwestern Missouri village of King City, a tiny, but proud burg, thirty miles northeast of St. Joseph. I wish that we were not always separated my so darn many miles. I believe if we still lived in St. Joseph, we would have become even better friends with Tim.
He loved Jesus and was an attentive father to his two girls. Without a doubt, he was one of the easiest going, most congenial people that I have ever known. His smile came easy and that glimmer in his eye seemed to be permanent. Tim and I would often engage in interesting conversations about church life at our family gatherings. I feel that he encountered far more adversity in this life than I ever knew about, but the glimmer and the smile never showed it.
Tim’s entire family has impacted me and my family with their congeniality, zest for life, and love of Jesus. Patty and I dearly love Tim’s dad, sister, and brother and his mother was a world class kind and gentle soul. For each of them, there are no adequate words. So, we will love and pray.
Tim’s death totally blindsided me, as it did everyone. Every death is a reminder of the others, and of our own mortality. Between St. Joseph and the rural cemetery just outside of King City in Northwestern Missouri, we find the graves of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and Patty’s parents. I get mad at the evil one and death for all of the broken-heartedness it brings to the survivors.
I think about my own mortality, and sometimes, I will calculate the uncertain years that may be left in this life. Then I will wonder how my life mattered and how I can the make it matter more in the time I have left. I am convinced that life is a great gift to be enjoyed, shared, and celebrated.
Here’s to Tim, a life well lived, and to his loved ones who shared his journey. May they find God’s grace and peace intertwined with their grief and the healing yet to come.
This post was originally published May 2, 2010.