Monday, September 3, 2012
A Life Well Lived
Tom was my brother, just a year and ten days older than I. He was a remarkable kid, happy and well adjusted, the kind of person everybody loves. He was talented, funny, helpful, and gracious. (I could say so much more but I already did in this blog post.)
On August 9, 1967, the day after his 18th birthday, Tom was driving to work when he lost control of his car and rolled it. He died instantly. His death affected not just our family but the entire community. For days our house was full of people -- family, friends from church, neighbors and Tom's classmates. Many didn't know what to do or say, but they told us that they just had to come. We received dozens and dozens of cards and letters, and in Mom's box I counted 68 florist cards that had come with the plants and floral arrangements that were delivered.
The cards and letters were from people we knew and people we didn't know. Many told of a specific experience they had had with Tom, or a character quality they especially admired in him. John Brown, our orchestra teacher, wrote: Thank you for raising a son like Tom, and thank God that I was fortunate enough to know him. A pure and honest spirit is the most beautiful thing in the world, because it makes those who see it themselves more pure and honest. I and the many others who loved Tom must always be grateful for what he gave to us -- he made us better for having known him. I pray that through his memory the goodness he inspired will continue to grow. His life was not in vain. God bless all of you.
It was the love of Christ in Tom that made him so winsome, so "pure and honest." When he was just three or four years old he opened his heart to the Lord and invited Jesus into his life. In sweet child faith he put his trust in Him and lived to please Jesus through all his growing up years. He wasn't perfect -- no angel or secret agent sent from Heaven to show us how to live. He was a kid, a boy who took the Lord at His word and depended upon Him for guidance, peace, and joy. His hope was in the Lord.
I miss Tom tremendously, but I know that He is in the presence of Jesus because he trusted in Him. And I know that I will be with him again because I too have placed my trust in Christ.
Listen to the words of Jesus, recorded in John 10:10 of the New Testament (taken from The Message), "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better than they ever dreamed of." That's the kind of life Tom had through his short life. And that's the kind of life he now experiences -- eternal life, better than he ever dreamed of. It's what Jesus offers to all who believe in Him!