James Brown. Gerald Ford. Saddam Hussein. What do they have in common with my mother? The same thing we all have in common with each other. Mortality.
They all died in 2006.
Here are my thoughts about 10 people who passed from time to eternity in 2006. Some stepped into an eternity with Christ, some without Christ. All went into eternity – forever.
• Gerald Ford – The man who never wanted to be president and never tried to be president, but became the 38th president of the USA anyway. I guess it is not all about vision, effort and desire after all.
• James Brown – The Godfather of Soul. I hope he knew God as his Father, so it will be well with his soul.
• Saddam Hussein – I sometimes think that anyone with a cross-cultural degree from ATS or Fuller could give better advice than the White House seems to get on foreign affairs. Did they really think that removing Saddam and having an election would fix Iraq?
• Slobodan Milosevic – Remember him? The "Butcher of the Balkans" seemed so powerful at one time, now reduced to a "vapor, a mist, a mere phantom."
• Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – Al Qaeda hero who specialized in suicide attacks on random civilians as well as kidnapping and video be-headings. The world is a better place without him, although I doubt he is in a better place.
• PW Botha – World-class racist who led the South African Apartheid government during its most violent times.
• Coretta Scott King – Continued her late husband's aggressive but non-violent fight for civil rights in America. I wonder if she will meet Botha on the other side. Would be an interesting conversation.
• Barney Fife (Actor, Don Knotts) – I think there may be a little Barney Fife lurking in all of us, that tendency to take ourselves a bit too seriously.
• Steve Irwin – I hope there is a bit of Steve Irwin in all of us, that ability to get overly excited about life.
• Betsy Tiblier Murrell – My Mom. The kindest person in the world. First person who ever told me about having a personal relationship with Jesus and a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit. For more info, I wrote several blogs in January 2006 about her last week in the ICU.
James called life a "mist" (James 4:14). David described life as "fleeting…but a breath…a mere phantom." (Psalm 139:4,5,6). Sometimes we live as if we will never die. While death is not exactly my Peter Pan "happy thought," it is healthy to occasionally think about dying and the fact that earth is only temporary.