(This is a photo of my friend (and former boss) Curtis, who runs the night shift at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette distribution center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Curtis and I are the same age and we think a lot alike. Peculiar, considering the very different backgrounds we have.
It's been wonderful to see so many of my old friends recently along my way back to Chambersburg, PA from Tucson, AZ. One always hopes to find one's friends happy and well. And most of my friends are happy and they are well.
I saw one friend, however, who was going through a very difficult time; and our meeting was totally unplanned (we met at the Barnes and Noble bookstore where we used to work together). Hopefully I encouraged her. I know she encouraged me; although, seeing her—so beautiful and so sad—broke my heart.
My heart was also broken by news that three of my friends: Clyde, Oliver, and George, friends I had worked closely with at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for two and a half years; people I was looking forward to seeing again, had died. In fact, two of them died the same week. Ever since hearing this news (last night) I've been in somewhat of a state of shock.
I try not to take life, especially the people I care about, for granted. I try and capture every memory and every moment that I can because I know how fleeting our life's experience is. Losing friends is a good reminder to not take our lives and the lives of our friends and our loved ones, for granted.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. (Psalm 103-8-18)