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Love Ya Later!

There’s a lot of reasons to fish.  One is an opportunity to think.  To dwell in His Creation and apply His word to one’s current challenges.  I often find myself closer to my savior on water than in more formal settings. 

I had a tough one.  Someone close who is battling stage 4 cancer; even worse who does not wish to hear about God.  A good time to fish; I was at the ocean on a pier.  A few other fishermen; nighttime tending to silence in those hours before dawn.

I reminded myself that my blessings far outweighed my trials; still, I was perplexed.  Here had been a young man who sang in churches and believed in the goodness of those around him.  Had a quick smile; a heart of service.  All this half-a-century ago when he was young.

I returned home with few answers.  And a new set of challenges.  A Facebook post with the words “Love ya’ later!” made me fear the worst.  A phone call confirmed it.  Our community had lost a fine young man; similar to the friend of which I had been worrying.  He was barely more than a kid; but so much more.

The first was hardened by military service; frustrated by failed marriages.  Disappointed by his observed hypocrisy of those professing to be Christians.  Sadly, some of my own behaviors might have added to his list of reasons for leaving the faith.  Now, several years of failing health was just driving him further away.

The latter was the great-nephew of a dear friend.  Had done me several favors in the past few years; including going above and beyond at a river-clean-up assisting a volunteer family with his boat.  Been a spirited bidder at a couple of recent events at which I was privileged to serve as auctioneer.

Perhaps the greatest thing this young man had consistently done for me was the example he set before me of always greeting the world with a smile.  Of always “working heartily” at any given task.  A moment on a highway, and his life here was over.  A young man with unlimited potential; who was already outspoken in his personal defense of the Gospel. 

Finding solace in the “…peace…” he now enjoys; still I hurt.  Cannot imagine the sense of loss of his family; his close friends.  I find myself treasuring each interaction I can recall.  The little acts of kindness done with such love and devotion.  The positive impacts he had had on other young people in my life for which I care.

I spent my last night in Texas catching a few top-gaff catfish; watching a few “bull reds” caught just down the pier.  Trying to hold bait in ten-to-twelve-foot swells as winds gusted over thirty-miles-an hour.  And wrestling with how to help lead my dying friend to obedience and salvation.

Ignorant of the tragedy only hours from happening in my community back home.  A disaster that possibly awaits us all who go through this world as “…mere vapors.”

I can do nothing for this second young man; he deprived of growing old as the first.  He is at rest.  I still think of the first.  Now, I think also of all those with whom I interact.  Especially the young.  Will my behaviors reinforce their relationships with God; or give them reasons to also someday pull away?

  All worthy topics.  Perhaps another trip to the pier.  If not answers, at least another sunrise after a night of darkness.  A beautiful reminder of His promise.  Thanks for joining us! 

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