Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Uncertainty of Life

I didn't realize I hadn't posted at all yet in 2010, though I thought many times about doing it. It seems like lately, there's been something sad to post about, such as Dianne's beloved little dog Josh passing, and then my darling Heidi unexpectedly passing. And of course, one hears every day on the news about someone dying tragically and you feel badly about it. Usually it is not someone you know; someone you've always remembered with great fondness even though you haven't seen them for many years. But this time, it was.

This past Monday the 22nd, Rex sent a news link to my E-mail about a Chicago police sergeant dying in a traffic accident. I thought, well, that's sad, but why is he telling me this? Then I opened the link and it was all I could do to not gasp aloud at my desk at work when I read the officer's name. It was Alan Haymaker, who we knew as "Pastor Al" when he was the assistant pastor at the church we'd attended for years in the 80's in Chicago. Not long before we moved to Washington in '90, we were surprised to learn that Al had decided to change careers and become a police officer. But it was what he felt called by God to do. It was what his dad and his granddad did.

We kept in touch with Al and his wife Elaine via annual Christmas cards and newsletters for several years, but as those living 2,000 miles apart often do, we eventually lost touch. But I would sometimes think about him and his kindness to me when he attended my dad's funeral in '86. It was no surprise to read, in the article about the accident, how he had similarly affected everyone who had the privilege to know him, and how great his faith in Christ remained. Very early Monday morning, he was responding to a burglary call when his car lost control on an icy road and slammed into a pole and then a tree. It still doesn't seem real -- and like Dianne told me, it's hard to understand why God didn't intervene and protect him. There is no doubt that Al was a strong Christian who was ready to meet his Lord. I just wish the Lord would have given him many more years on this earth. I've requested prayer for Elaine and their three daughters, aged 16 to 25, and will continue to pray God will wrap His arms around them and give them His peace that passes all understanding.

Reading how much everyone loved and respected Al, and how great his faith was, made me think that even though it seems so untimely (he was 56), we would all wish to leave that type of a legacy, to have that glowing of an obit written about us when the time comes. And here I am, still not having committed to the right church where I can try to serve Him even one-tenth as well as Al did (though I do now definitely have the search narrowed down and am closer to making that decision). Here I am, staying up way, way too late watching the Winter Olympics (at least they are only on for 2 weeks every 4 years!), then not getting enough sleep and not being able to concentrate at my job. And here I am, continuing to snack on carbs and having lost a measly 5.2 pounds all year (which is better than nothing, but is still almost nothing) instead of treating my body like the temple it is. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, and the loss of this dear man is another solemn reminder of that. He, his family and friends would have never imagined as they left church that Sunday, that in a matter of hours, he would be gone. It's a reminder to appreciate every day; to be thankful to wake up every day instead of saying, "Ewwww, it's dark, rainy and I gotta go to work". Al didn't do that. He did what he felt God was leading him to do and lived each day to the fullest.

Concerning other, much smaller losses, we lost another of our guinea pigs a few days ago - the pretty little female tortoiseshell we called Zoey, who was Joey's mom. We knew she was getting older and though she had remained active, she was getting thin, so we wondered. So now we are down to seven piggies, which is actually plenty. They all seem to be thriving and we are enjoying them all, especially little Connor, who amuses us with his jogging around his plastic igloo in his cage and the way he sings (chirps) softly when I hold him. Our newest doggie, Susie, is doing well, though I often feel she thinks she is Rex's dog, since he is home with her more than I am (especially last month when he got virtually no working hours at the kennel; thankfully, he is getting some now). She is very cute and fun, and I've started to call her "drama queen" for the way she carries on when we put her in her crate when she knows we are around. She doesn't understand it's necessary to protect her from Archie when we let him out of the bedroom. We continue to need to keep him separated from her and from Jesse. But Jesse quickly grew to accept Susie and we are able to leave him out in the main part of the house with her. He has turned out to become my special dog now that Heidi is not here; he lays by my recliner most evenings and leans against me to be petted. I think Susie will eventually feel closer to me also; Rex keeps reminding me how long it took to get there with Heidi.

After the big bridal party project, I felt like taking a little break from the Barbie gowns and have been crocheting baby items, which will eventually be used for charity or gifts, and will eventually be pictured on The Evergreen Refuge's crochet section. I'm sure there is more I've forgotten to write, but as it's past my bedtime as usual, I'll save the rest for next time.