About fifteen years ago, I taught a Sunday School class full of teenage boys. Their ages ranged from fourteen to eighteen years old and I loved this assignment - or "calling" as it was labeled in my church at the time. These boys would take turns holding my little baby girl, passing her around the class and we mostly talked about life and what they faced each day. Sometimes, I snuck in an actual church lesson. They were a good group of boys, one or two girls wandered into the class every now and then, but the boys were the stalwarts.
I learned many things about me and my life during that time; I was about fifteen years older than these kids. My marriage was struggling and I was changing and this class was somewhat of a lifeline for me. Isn't that usually the case, the teacher learns more from the student?
I found out on Friday that one of those sweet boy passed away following a sixteen-month bout with brain cancer. It would be easy to sit back and shake my head and wonder, "Why?" For that is what most are doing when they hear that my friend Mark has passed away. I, instead, want to make a change in my own life in his honor. He was a good man, just like he was a good boy. And I was patient with these young men. Perhaps quite a bit more patient with them than I have been with my own teenagers. I will be working on that.
Today, I will attend a funeral and I will shake hands and share hugs with people I haven't seen for fourteen years. It is sad, very sad. And there is a lesson, as well. And what each of us learns and implements will be different. Life is short.
Tell the people you love that you do, then show it.