When a Christmas time news report says that someone died, my heart goes out to the family. This year it is my family grieving.
On December 20 my brother Paul left for work as usual about 4:30 a.m. Before getting in his car, he awoke his teenage son and said good-bye. Iowa roads were icy that Friday morning, another miserable day in what has been a difficult winter across the Midwest. Paul had about twenty-five miles to get to the manufacturing plant where we was a draftsman. With only two or three highway miles to go, he lost control of his car and collided with another vehicle. Paul died on impact.
Paul was one of my youngest brothers. He’s third from the right in this family photo snapped last April. As a child he had a cherubic face and a happy demeanor. He preferred working with his hands over careers that required higher education. So after high school Paul earned a barber’s license and worked his way through trade school to become a draftsman. I was impressed upon learning that my kid brother wore a business suit and flew to big-city meetings for the Minneapolis company he was with.
Paul was down-to-earth and had a wry sense of humor. He was fun to be around and I was so pleased when he drove more than half-way across Iowa to spend an hour with me during my visit to Waterloo last August. Paul loved his wife and held on to their marriage until it became impossible a couple years ago. Then he did what he had to do to take care of his son. Paul was working hard to support the two of them, which might explain why he went to work Friday morning despite icy roads.
When you light candles or your Christmas tree this season, please say a prayer for those whose eyes are brimming with tears. Remember that there would be no pain at a death unless we live deeply and love well. Look at the light reflected in your loved ones eyes and thank God for all that is good.