As you know, I really thought a lot of my son. There is so much I miss about him: his kindness and courtesy, his practical help, his humor, new song and poem reveals, his advice, his challenges (encouraging me to play the drums 20 minutes a day, or to make a timeline of my life), his sense of adventure…
I never knew him as a healthy adult: he was diagnosed at age 20 and life was never the same. He voluntarily gave up his driver’s license right away; I guess he knew before anyone mentioned it that it wouldn’t be safe for him to drive with his peripheral vision loss and numbness in his foot. So he quite suddenly lost his independence.
I often think about what he would have become. I am sure his attitude toward the homeless would have matured into greater effectiveness and stewardship. There would have been more songs and poems to bless or entertain us. Perhaps his love of hiking would have led to week-long backpacking trips or rock-climbing adventures.
He had started writing a sci fi novel: it would have been great to read that. Certainly he would have traveled more; he was adventurous and always open to experiencing new cultures.
He was a natural teacher and counselor, and had an abundance of common sense, so more mentoring, no doubt.
I'm tempted to feel sorry for all those who never knew Joe and who would have known and enjoyed him had he lived a longer life. But, maybe he accomplished all he was meant to accomplish in this life.
…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16)
I also have to remind myself that he was fallible, like we all are. And many good people have stepped off the good path into moral failure, or wandered off gradually into spiritual decline. I suppose I “see” his unlived future through rose-colored glasses. (But I’ve no doubt he would’ve continued to make his mama proud).
People talk about “beating cancer” or “losing his battle with cancer”. I don’t believe Joe lost a battle with cancer. He loved and served God and people to the end of his life. He won the victory in how he lived and died—with grace and strength of character.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
He didn’t lose. He won, because he finished well. And I’m pretty sure he is still celebrating.