Respect In Life Essential As Reverence In Death

Death of certain ones tugs even harder on the heart strings.

While every human’s death is sobering, those of one’s close family are typically the hardest. A close second is that of a classmate or longtime co-worker. That’s not only because we have been friends, but it also again reminds us of our own mortality.

The recent passing of a co-worker for three decades was an awakening of just how short and precious life on earth can be. A strong memory of the first day on our new job just out of college was the introduction to a young, athletic, obviously ornery pressman.

Although we were never real close, there always seemed to be a common bond. When topics revolving around our mutual work, agriculture and the outdoors were discussed, we shared a ground that was not the same with others.

Until recent times, personal strife didn’t get in the way of his zeal for life, and his boys’ involvement within it. Appreciation and knowledge of his chosen profession never faltered. Improvement toward perfection weighed heavily on his conscience.

Friendships were many, but as maturity and transitions came into his life, there was a noticeable difference, not only in the man but in his relationships. Those who had always befriended him started to keep their distance, or so it seemed.

He became extremely cautious of where he was, what he was doing and who was watching. That was in contrast to the jovial, easy-going, forever-vibrant man he’d always been. Transitions in his behavioral habits concerned us, and the distance between he and his co-workers grew.

They weren’t comfortable being around him, and maybe talked about his changes critically, not understanding the whole and real reasons. When he left his beloved lifelong job of 30 years, many lost touch with him.

We visited with him a handful of times, and he always seemed somewhat upbeat, but there was still reservations in his tone. Then, just a few weeks ago, we heard that he’d become seriously ill and incapacitated. It wasn’t long before death overtook him.

Past friends and co-workers came in remembrance and respect, but others kept their distance. Sympathy to family members and prayers for a lost loved one are important, but kindness and continued friendship while someone lives are more necessary. We must love and respect one another through good times and bad.

It is noted in Proverbs 3:14: “Friendship is better than a big salary.” Dedication to profession is emphasized in Proverbs 16:11: “God cares about honesty in the workplace, because your business is his business.” Our personal feeling of loss is noted in Second Samuel 1:26: “O my dear brother, I’m crushed by your death.”

Peace comes in Romans 5:10: “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Everything has a place and a purpose as told in Proverbs 16:1: “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.”