I haven’t posted since the theatre shooting. I’ve been busy and didn’t really know what to say. It seems almost everything has been said. Much of it I already knew. I knew that Lafayette is a great community that I’m proud to call home. I knew Lafayette people are different in a good and special way. I knew that every death is tragic and the violent death of young people, especially so. I knew there are disturbed people who can wreak havoc in their pathetic attempts to be significant or meaningful. I knew that the national media would flock to a story like this. So what could I add?
I have chosen to speak about another death. One that will affect me more personally and that will stay with me longer. My friend Paul Landry died this week. His service will be the same day as that of at least one of the victims of the theatre shooting. It will not get nearly as much notice. That’s the way life is.
Paul was a good man. Even as his health was failing he was faithful to his ministry. Every month he would call those of us over 55 in our church, Amana Christian Fellowship, to remind us of our monthly SALT meetings. I looked forward to those calls because Paul always had time to talk. I enjoyed hearing about his life and the news he had about others. He was always interested in what was going on in my life. I will miss those calls. I will miss seeing him at church. I look forward to giving Norma a big hug not just tonight when I see her but at every opportunity as her loss sinks in and becomes part of her life from here on.
On the day after the theatre shooting, things were different as I moved about town. The words, “be safe” were added to the normal “Have a nice day.” greetings I received. People spent a bit more time talking with each other. There was more listening, more concern, more thoughtfulness. People talked more about God and were less reluctant to pray and to encourage others to do so. God has designed life to include periodic shake ups. There are national tragedies and personal losses. It seems we need repeated reminders of what’s important.
Our feelings of safety are illusionary. Our idea that we will have plenty of time to do those things we keep putting off is nutty. Our failure to express our love at every opportunity is sad. Our priorities are chaotic and just plain messed up.
Let’s review. We live in a great town. We have great friends and family. We serve (or should be serving) a great God. This life is just the tiny entry hall into eternity. We have things to do which aren’t the things we are doing. God thank you for the reminder. Sorry it took national tragedy and the loss of a friend to remind me. I promise to do better.
Thanks for all those calls, Paul. We will talk again. Count on it. I do.