It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I've been grieving the loss of my brother. There's a hole in my life now where he used to be, and in the lives of all who knew him. Don's character is a precious memory I will call on if I ever have to be reminded what a man with integrity looks like. Don was three years older than me, but he taught me so much about integrity, loyalty and love.
Don's passing has made me think a lot about how easy it is to take our family and friends for granted. My life choice forced me to live an hour and a half flight away from him and his family, but I tried to keep in contact often. Was it enough? Could I have given up some of the busyness of my life to spend more time together? I wish I had shared more time with him, and on a deeper level than I did.
These thoughts have been tossed about in my mind for the past three weeks. I've come to realise our lives aren't only about our blood relations. If living near Don and his family was God's purpose for my life, I would have been there. God has a different purpose for me, and I'm not sure if I've even worked out what that is, but I believe he's teaching me community is what life is about.
As an adult I'm responsible for more than just my siblings and my immediate family. God has put me in community to help me understand everyone has a life journey and that life journey is different for each of us. The events of my journey have made me the person I am today, and there is no changing that, but I can change my behaviours for the future.
Through my experiences I'm able to help others who may be experiencing something of what I've been through. I come alongside and encourage and lift them up so they can continue on knowing someone else has also been there. They are not alone!
Community is about connection with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and also those in my community who don't know him, but need him in their lives.
Don served in the police force for 37 years. He was a man of integrity - a man people could trust to do a job properly. He possessed a strong sense of community and always wanted his community to be safe for his family, friends, and people he didn't know. On the beat and off the beat his integrity never wavered, but what I loved about him the most was his quirky sense of humour. He was able to blend integrity with humour. Ever since I can remember he loved playing tricks on people to make them think about what they were doing. He was a gifted man who knew how to sneak up on people in a imaginative way and get them to change their behaviour without them knowing .
Is this something we can add to our every day lives to make a difference in someone's life? Add humour, live with integrity and influence people in some small way without them knowing you're behind them giving them a gentle nudge in the right direction on their own journey?
I believe Don's subtle way of reaching people through humour, love and understanding has merit. I hope I can include those qualities in my everyday life to help others smile on their bleak days, encourage them that life happens and can be tough sometimes, but with God's unconditional love we will get through the darkness and back into the light, and be wiser for the experience.
Thank you, Don, for your loving contribution to my life, and the wisdom you've passed to me. I hope I can pass some of that wisdom and sense of fun to my community for the rest of the time God has portioned for me for this life here on earth.