I've been away from the computer for the last couple of days due to completely unexpected circumstances. I left work early yesterday in order to drive to my old hometown for a funeral that took place at 9:30 this morning during which I said my goodbyes to one of the oldest friends I had. I met Bill during the summer between our seventh and eighth grades, some 48 years ago, if you can imagine.
Over the years we lost touch with each other for long periods of time as I moved out of the country and he changed addresses, but when I thought of home I always thought about my old friend and often tried to find him with no success. In March of this year, after one of those long breaks, I heard from Bill's daughter via Facebook. She was trying to help her dad renew contact again and wondered if I was the person she was looking for -I was. As things turned out, though, I learned that Bill had been suffering from cancer for over two years and that things were getting a bit "iffy" for him. I had a sense that things were getting much worse, much more quickly than anyone expected, but I was shocked to learn that my old friend died early on Wednesday morning.
His family and great number of friends said goodbye to him this morning.
As I was preparing to leave Houston, I received another email, this one from a friend who lives in London. She told me that a mutual friend of ours, an American I've known and worked with for about 15 years had been caught up in the hotel bombings in Jakarta yesterday morning (Houston time). Gary, who now works in Jakarta, was attending an event in one of the bombed hotels and he has apparently suffered very severe burns and other injuries. He has been flown to Singapore for treatment and the good news is that he has survived what is likely to have been the most critical period of his injuries. I haven't heard any news for the last 12 hours or so, but I'm taking that as a good sign.
Life is short, folks, something we tend to forget. And for some of us, it is even shorter than we expected it to be. Take a moment to appreciate what you have and those who love you. Take nothing for granted; make the most of the time God gives you and leave some good memories for those who loved you while you were on this earth. It is too easy to let everyday events get in the way of really living your precious life. Don't let that happen to you.
OK, enough preaching. I know that's not why you're here and, honestly, I wrote this as much for myself as for anyone else who happens to read it.