Blog Post #9

Fall is upon us although the Atlanta heat is still scorching flower beds and what used to be small streams. We have had over 80 days of temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. The record is 90 days in one year and while we may not reach that mark, it has still been a long, hot summer.

With the advent of fall comes college and professional football games, baseball playoffs and the World Series and, of course, school is back in session restoring the routine to our daily lives. However, as the season changes, it also provides an opportunity for reflection on what really matters in life.

Last week I was moved by two major events. Early in the week I had lunch with fellow Sigma Chi alum who lost his only child (a son) to suicide at the age of 19. His story not only touched my heart but also inspired me to consider once again the fragility of life. This young man had no history of depression, did not use drugs, had a very high GPA in his freshman year of college, was a talented athlete and by any measure, a popular and presumably happy young man.

Tragically he chose to take his own life breaking the hearts of his family, friends and fraternity brothers. Why?? His parents have grappled with this question for years while coping with the pain and heartache of losing a child. Their son had one moment in his short life when he made a decision to end his earthly journey. We may never understand why he made this decision but should be comforted by the fact that he is at peace and in his spiritual resting place, where we will all be at some point.

Having lost a son myself, it was not necessary for me to comment to my friend as we understood each other from the moment we met. However, once our lunch meeting had ended I found myself reflecting on our conversation and I am reminded that our journey on this little blue planet is fragile and fleeting. In the end, we will all depart the same way and our ultimate journey is not of the worldly kind. It is a spiritual journey.

The other event that occurred this week was the news that a very good friend had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although he will undergo chemotherapy he has also been told to “get his affairs in order” in anticipation of the inevitable. My heart breaks for him and his family. Incidents like the two I have mentioned are difficult to explain or understand.

Of one thing I am certain. Our spiritual path is set from the moment we enter the world. This is not to sound like I believe in predestination or consider that we have no choice in our personal lives. On the contrary, one of the great gifts we have in life is the ability to make our own decisions. However, I do believe that God’s divine love has considered the path that each of us will foll0w and He knows in advance about the ultimate choices we will make.

We would all do well to remember that each path is our own and we must follow that path with love and compassion for others, who are also walking their own path. We may not know where our path will lead. Few people do. However, we must always be respectful of the fact that everyone is on their own path and we must be respectful of that fact and never judgmental.

Take the time to “smell the coffee” as is often said. Tell your friends, your family and your pets that you love them. Enjoy the earthly journey. It does not last that long.

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