Saturday, April 12, 2014
Thursday afternoon I sat in the driveway of one of our Bridge St. United folk waiting for her to return home so our pastoral visit could begin. The CBC radio program I was listening to was interrupted for the sad announcement that former finance minister Jim Flaherty had died, suddenly. I am no fan of the Conservative government, and while I admire Flaherty's leadership during the recession I have not been impressed by cuts to many important ministries in order to balance the budget before the next election. In that moment though politics didn't matter. I felt an immediate sadness that a faithful civil servant died in this way, without his family around him. The sense of loss was almost universal on parliament hill, even amongst those from other parties with whom he did battle. He was recognized as a principled, fun-loving, and decent man.
I went to high school with his wife, Christine Elliot, and I could only imagine the shock and loss she and their triplet sons were experiencing. It seemed wrong that Flaherty had worked through a debilitating illness stoically, only to be struck down by something else, likely a massive heart attack. And there he was, stepping back in order to have a life, only to have life end so quickly.
Life is not fair and it can be fleeting. A year ago a brother-in-law, 58, collapsed at his desk at work and was dead before the paramedics arrived. A sister-in-law who just turned 59 this week is in a tough battle with cancer. Now, they aren't young, but they aren't three score years and ten either.
Life is also a gift from God, meant to be lived with purpose and grace. We regularly receive the reminders that while the average lifespan for Canadians is about 80, one of the longest of any nation, we should choose to savour our relationships and affirm love in each day. As we enter Holy Week we become aware once again of the brevity of Jesus' life and the unfairness of his death. But we are people of resurrection hope.
Thoughts and comments?