My dear cousin, Josh, has died. I've always said that I want to go "fast" when I die. And yet, being on the other side of a "fast" death, is agony. So many unanswered questions, so many unsaid "goodbyes" make such a passing difficult. There's a part of me that wants to shake a fist at God and say, "why him???" And yet, I'm reminded that each breath, each day is a gift. It's not promised. We tend to live as if it is expected. We have come to feel as if it is deserved. And yet scripture clearly says that life is a "fleeting vapor." (James 4:14)
The best thing I can think of to do is not live with the attitude that I deserve a day. I need to live as I believe - that life is precious. I think of what matters most and then think of how much time I give to what matters most. I watched a youtube interview that really made me pause and think about how I live my life. Evidently it's been out for several years, but I had never seen it before. As a Christian, after personally experiencing the aftermath of lives taken "too soon", my question to myself is, "What am I waiting for?" There are so many people in my life that do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So many people I so dearly love haven't accepted Christ's gift of salvation. And I sit back and let precious days go by as if I've been guaranteed another. Fear of what my friends will think or if I'll even have friends anymore tends to stop me in my tracks. I justify this by saying the St. Francis of Assisi quote, "preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words" and take on a holier than thou attitude like I believe that my life sufficiently points people to Christ. I wish that were the case, but I find that unlike Joe Pesci's character in "My Cousin Vinny" I blend in more than not. At work, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had lived in Haiti and when I was asked why, I explained that my parents were missionaries. The people I work with seemed surprised by this information and that has caused me to pause. I didn't ask them why they were surprised. I guess I was too convicted to find out if they just envision most missionaries having a 12 inch thick Bible thumping in their hands while wearing the largest cross necklace money can buy or if my lifestyle, my words, and my attitudes have not led anyone to deduce that I am a Christ follower.
Much to ponder as I prepare to gather with my family to say goodbye to an amazing man. I will miss you Josh Oltman (1975-2012).