A year ago, almost to the day. I got a call from my good friend Jeff telling me that the cancer was back... with a vengeance. It was bad - real bad, he said. We made a commitment to each other to walk that journey together; to do it honestly, transparently, and with a tenacious determination to learn from it.
One of the early lessons learned was to enjoy every moment God gives us. To breathe fresh air, enjoy creation, listen to music we loved, make our conversations count, and go fishing. You see, almost all of the important things in life can happen when you go fishing. When Jesus' disciples were at a loss for what to do after the cross, they went fishing. Here are a couple pics from one of our last outings.
The cancer was a reminder that our world is flawed, broken, wrong. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Middle school kids are not supposed to watch their dad waste away from cancer. Young women are not supposed to be widows. Things are not okay... not "right". In our times together we inevitably came back to the topic of Hope. Hope, capital "H", isn't some kind of wishful thinking. This kind of Hope is one that understands, with certainty, that Jesus' resurrection from the grave was the beginning of our Creator God setting things right. Jesus was/is the "first fruits" of what will someday happen to we who follow Him.
Yesterday, Jeff's body succumbed to the nasty cancer. But, just like the grave that had no victory over Jesus, the cancer didn't win. It couldn't. Because Jeff was/is a part of what Jesus started, today, Jeff is more alive than he has ever been. Today, he is whole.
Sometimes when someone we love dies, we say we lost them. I'm reminded that "losing" something or someone implies that I don't know where they are. In my last coherent conversation with Jeff on Tuesday, we reaffirmed our love and appreciation for each other. When I left, we hugged and said "see you later". It wasn't "good-bye" and we both knew it.
I already miss Jeff a lot. But I'm also filled with a great HOPE. A certainty that one day I'll see him again. Things will all be made "right". And in that place of right-ness, that New Heaven - New Earth, I think we'll go fishing.