St. Stephen's Musings

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:: Thursday, January 02, 2003 ::

Bad News from Friends

I just received a very distressing phone call. Then, about 5 minutes later, a very upsetting email. Not the most pleasant way to start off the day.

The phone call was from one of my assistants at work. His father (Curtis), 59, died suddenly and unexpectedly over the holiday. My assistant was in tears on the phone and I could hardly hear him through the sobs.

The email was from my best friend in middle school and high school. I was his best man at his wedding 5 years ago and we have stayed very close over the years even though he has been in medical school the past year. He emailed me to tell me his wife has been diagnosed with MS and, due to the deterioration of their marriage, that they have decided to separate.

Needless to say, this has been a tough morning.

It is amazing to see how fast one's life can change in an instant. We think we have such power and control over out lives. Too often, I catch myself thinking about what I will do when I finally go off to grad school, or what my kids will be like, or a thousand other future plans. Being a type A personality and being a bit obsessive-compulsive helps me forget my own mortality. The Scripture is pretty clear about those who forget to hold their plans and their lives lightly:

"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain"; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that." (James 4:13-14)

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day." (Matt. 6:34).

As I start this new year, making resolutions, planning the coming years activities and schedules, I hope I can remember how fast things can change and how feeble and vulnerable I really am. As C.S. Lewis said, "The present moment is the point at which time touches eternity." I pray I can stay watchful, vigilant and full of prayer in the present moment of every day God gives me.

"How precious is the time of this life! Every minute has great worth, for
within one minute we can think so many things, either good or evil. One
godly thought can raise us to Heaven, and one diabolical thought can lower
us to hell. So then, behold how valuable every minute in this present life
is. Unfortunatelly though, we do not think about this, and hours, days, and
years pass with no profit - but is it merely with no profit? How much
damage we have all suffered, and I first - without realizing it! But some
day, when our soul is about to depart from the body, we shall realize it.
But alas, it will be too late;there is no room for correction then. We
must realize this now when we can still make a start. We should take
advantage of the precious time of our life. Truly blessed is he who compels
himself and makes a start, because some day he will become spiritually rich."

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, Counsels from the Holy Mountain

:: Karl :: 9:56:00 AM [Link] ::

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