Monday, January 4, 2010
Yesterday I went to the funeral of my minister. Harold Dowler had a giant personality that filled up the room. He was a straight talking cowboy from Wyoming who gave the most massive bear hugs and who, when talking to you, made it clear that your life and what you were telling him was truly important. I had seen Harold at church before he died, and he hugged me so hard that he picked me up off the ground. He put his huge hand on my shoulder and told me if I ever needed anything, he wanted me to know he was there for me. And then I learned that a few days later, in the blink of an eye while sitting at the table with his family, he had a heart attack and passed on.
His funeral was a celebration of his life, and ended at Harold’s request with everyone in the church playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” on kazoos. That was classic Harold, to help dry our tears with a moment none of us will ever forget.
All day yesterday I kept wishing that I could see him just one more time, as I sure wish I could tell him just how much he meant to me, and how his wisdom stories that he shared have helped shape how I view the world. When someone dies suddenly, I think it is natural for the people who knew them to think, “if only I had told them……”
Last night I stayed awake thinking of Harold and about how suddenly someone can leave this earth. How many unspoken thanks or words of appreciation are there that swirl in our heads but that never make it into a letter to a friend or out of our lips to a family member? I think a wonderful New Year’s resolution for 2010 is to try and not let those moments slip by. Are there people in your life that have made a real impact on you or your family but whom you haven’t expressed how much they have meant to you? Let’s all resolve to send those notes, make those phone calls, and make sure that our gratitude reaches those in our lives who have blessed us by being there.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you', it will be enough. ~ Meister Eckhart