Things I remember:
I remember flunking my Freshman Chemistry class at mid-term and my college chemistry professor telling me that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a pharmacist, that he wanted to be a physicist but he couldn't get past Freshman Physics. Well, I retook his class and got straight A's in Chemistry 1 and 2. I graduated from pharmacy school 6 years later and have been a pharmacist ever since for 22+ years.
An old saying: "Quitters never win, winners never quit."
I remember my cousin Daniel who was a cute kid growing up and had a smile that would light up any room he entered. At a children's Christmas play this past December, an elderly lady was struggling to find a seat and Daniel saw her and helped her sit down next to him. Daniel said something like, "Don't you go to such-and-such church that my mother goes to?" She did. Sadly, just 11 days later, Daniel needlessly took his own life over a relationship squabble with his girlfriend. Ironically, the older lady who Daniel helped to her seat, was a choir singer and sang a beautiful version of "Ave Maria" for his funeral.
A Gracie Allen quote that seems fitting here:
"Never place a period where God has placed a comma."
I remember happy, young marriages of family or friends being destroyed by affairs and hard-heartedness. I remember women I loved and/or tried to help, only for the relationships to end painfully due to pride, the blame game or an absence of love.
Another old saying: "Faith makes all things possible. Love makes them easy."
And no matter how well or poor you start off, it is also important to remember what Jesus told us:
- Luke 18:27: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
My parish priest, Father Taranto, brought up the fact in his homily this Sunday that he has had requests from people who have fallen away from God ask to be re-baptized. But only one baptism is necessary as scripture tells us (Ephesians 4:5). It is just a start and it is up to us to carry out our baptismal promise from that day forward.
And this proves a point. Many of us all start off well and good-intentioned in our intiation into Christian life at the time of our baptism. But that is the day-to-day challenge to remain Christlike and not fall off.
- John 19:29-30: A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
When Jesus said "It is finished" shortly before he gave up his spirit on The Cross, He left a legacy of unsurpassed love so that sins could be forgiven. All the while, going through humiliation, ridicule, pain and suffering so that he could understand anything we may go through in life.
Who remembers Jesus Christ well?
Those closest to Him and those He touched. And even one, Peter, who He loved but denied him three times.
So remember this in your everyday life. The most important people in our life will not remember us by how many material things we possess, how much money we made, how many degrees we earned, how successful we were in our career or by any of our career accomplishments.
We will be most remembered by those closest to us for the love and forgiveness we leave behind. We will be remembered how we finish, not how we start.
A famous quote:
“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.” --John Greenleaf Whittier
I also remember the Tennessee Titans came within one yard of the end zone on the final play of the 2000 Super Bowl against the St Louis Rams. A touchdown would have made the Titans Super Bowl champions. I am sure that the Titans look back and wonder if they could have done one or two minor things differently and won the game.
As with the more important things in life, whether it be parenting, your marriage and with your salvation, don't live a life that you'll regret later, just try as hard as you can every day to love and live as Christ did.
Peace be with you,
© Michael J. Cox