May 19, 2019

Dear family and friends,

My last conversation with my brother David, was on the last day of his life. It was about 8 in the morning, and I was on my way to our staff meeting. Often Dave and I would talk. Many times the first half hour or more was his time to vent the frustrations of some of our family circumstances he was trying to help with. Sometimes it was friends he was disturbed with, and often there was a senior in the tour group he was leading that was making difficult demands.

This Tuesday seemed to be all the above. David always felt deeply with great care about what he did. This also generated much stress which he held into himself, twisting away in his gut. I listened as usual, spoke when I thought it would helpful, and mostly tried to encourage him. At some point we shifted to talking about the trip down through the Panama Canal in a few days. Dave had been dreaming and planning to be on one of the first cruise ships to go through the newest Panama Canal. It had captured his imagination and passion, and now he was taking a group of seniors with him.

Some of my last words to him in this phone call were me trying to calm him with assurance that those frustrations and struggles would keep till he returns.”Dave, picture yourself arriving in your cabin on the ship. Drop your bags. Go out onto the balcony, close the glass door behind you. Sit down and take a deep breath. You are free. Your journey is beginning”

Dave paused, I could hear him breathe out a deep sigh of release. “Yeah, that’s good.” We said goodbye shortly after that on that morning. By nightfall he was unexpectedly gone.

I remember this conversation well. Yet not till this writing did I realize, these are words I would have loved to whispered into his ears and heart among his lasts breathes, assuring him, he was going on a good journey of peace and true joy. I hold out hope that he may have remembered and it gave him comfort. I know Jesus welcomed him with even more wonderful assurances.

Remembering this helps me to try to live more attentively with last words, last moments with the constant good of Christ love for all.

I pray our past my provide profound ways for you and I to live better in the present with God’s heart.

I am grateful for the many moments of God’s grace you have given Bev and I that guides our present,

Pastor Dale

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