I’ve just returned to the office from the memorial service of my wife’s cousin. He died at the age of 34. Anthony was a very likable young man. He was full of joy. I rarely saw him without a smile on his face, a quick laugh to share or a story to tell. He was a compassionate human being and never met a stranger that he wouldn’t share that compassion with. Life wasn’t particularly easy for Anthony. That’s not what made him who he was. He faced certain challenges that he accepted and conquered. He endured loss and continued to share of himself.
Last night at the viewing, my wife and I were standing in line when I overheard a conversation. The room was packed and the line to share condolences stretched out of the room and down the hall. Two ladies had been viewing a video of pictures from Anthony’s life. They turned to go as one said, “What a shame!” To which the other lady said, “What a waste of a young life”.
I think I know what she meant. I think she was just expressing what everyone felt. Anthony was so young and so full of life and such a blessing to everyone he met that to be apart from him was a shame. If those were her thoughts, I agree. But I started to think about what she said, again, “What a waste of a young life”. I thought of it on the drive home and into the night.
The pastor that led the memorial service today helped bring my thoughts together as he quoted from Psalm 139:
Psalm 139:14-17 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
From our perspective, Anthony should have had a long life to live. A long time to bless others. A lifetime to share that joy, that smile, that large laugh. From God’s perspective, Anthony had lived a full life. His task was done, his time on this earth over. He had shared his love for Jesus, shared his love, shared his life as he had been ordained to do. And, now, God called him home.
His life was complete. His was not a wasted life.