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September 23 • 12:23 PM
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Personal loss made easier through faith



shadow
shadow
June 04, 2008
Friday morning, May 23, one week after his 62nd birthday, my brother Jim slipped away in his sleep. When I received the call from my sister, who had been keeping us updated, I was in the middle of typing up a column before the early Memorial Day deadline. I made the decision to quickly finish it, but then couldn't get it to print, so I just saved it in the computer for another time, and told Catherine I wouldn't be having anything for last week.

That seems so far away now—like I've been in a time warp. Time—that entity which, speaking of which, seems so elusive—which sometimes stands still and sometimes swirls around us like a roaring tornado.

Time...is just..in reality, a parenthesis in eternity. And we were reminded at the memorial service that Jim's life is just a handbreadth within that parenthesis. His pastor whipped a pen out of his breast pocket and said, "Jim's life is just a pencil length within that parenthesis. His tombstone will read:

Jim De Boef

May 16, 1946-May 23, 2008

Think of this pen as that dash between the two dates."

Put that way, the sufferings, though severe, come into perspective. Perhaps because the tumors had disfigured his face, his wife had made the decision to have the interment first and then the memorial service. Following a family prayer service, we were handed a litany for at the cemetery. On the way to the cemetery, Mom caught a glance at a childhood picture Jim's wife had chosen to include, and she sucked in her breath and teared up. "To think, we're about to put that little boy in the ground," she said, immediately adding, "Of course I know it's just his body...''

His death is ever so much easier to take when I remember that he has traded in his season of sorrows, his pain, the disfiguring tumors, for the rest of eternity in which to share in the joy of the resurrected Lord.

Will I miss him? Terribly! Do I wish him back? Not a chance!

Castle Creek
Van Dyke Gas
09 - 23 - 17
12:23
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