Short and fragile

Recently a friend told me that they had four funerals in their church in one week. They were all older people. He said it goes in cycles, weeks or even months without a funeral and then four in one week. That particular church is fairly large with plenty of senior citizens in it. The thought hit me about expectations that relate to death. Regardless of our age, we likely think about future plans. Only those who have a serious terminal illness expect to die soon. We all likely look forward and backward. We remember the good and the not so good. We plan for tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. Do we plan so that we can expect to look back with mostly good memories?

When people retire do we hear them ask, 'What now?" If we do hear that we can always suggest the food shelf, The Salvation Army, meals on wheels and others. Recently I have had a few thank me for suggesting the local food shelf. It is my firm belief that the more people volunteer for good activities, the less negative memories they will have in the future. I still do plenty of volunteering.

One caution we might always keep in mind is to prioritize our activities. I say this with a bit of guilt feelings. If we have a larger family perhaps we should volunteer less. Five children, 10 grandchildren and then the great grand ones could use most of my time. We normally spend some time with at least some of our family members each week. Sometimes few and some weeks several, it is always a real joy.

How about our time with our Lord? Norma and I both spend time in the Bible every day. Most days I read or study more than once. Then I generally teach two Bible studies each week, sometimes more. How about conscious real communications with God. It is easy to give a little thanks and praise along with a bunch of requests and then forget about it. When we read, study and pray, do we also sit quietly and listen. It is easy to tell others to read slowly, carefully and prayerfully and rush over it ourselves.

Life is short, fragile and vulnerable. We can pray, read our Bibles, love, serve and encourage. We must slow down and do it carefully for best results.

For the 2010 Club, Feb. 28 takes us to Numbers 25 and Mark 8.

Life is short and fragile. Handle with care and prayer.

Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul's Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.