I went to a funeral this morning - the heavens opened as we said farewell to a young man you died very suddenly of a heart attack aged a too young thirty four. The church was packed, as it so often is when a young person dies, with young people from all walks of life and my heart went out to his parents - his dad was inconsolable. I think all in the church had a question in their heart - Why? I also sat there listening to the wonderful testimonies from his best friend, his two brothers and his lovely young wife thinking Why?
I was thinking why I had not got to know the depth of this young man - I knew him as a friend of my sons Mark and Paul and I remember him from his youth when he was DJing with my youngest Sean (who is the same age) and he was always a quiet, respectable and hardworking youngster but I had no idea, nor had I given a thought to, his good kind heart. I sat considering why it is that the quiet souls amongst us get ignored and I realise now that I am poorer for ignoring this gentle hearted man. I learned that he had a spiritual home in his church and I learned that he played rugby for his school and was a prefect long ago. I saw photos of him as a shy youngster and heard how he loved to make biscuits and was teaching his daughter how to bake. I admired the way his brothers told of thier childhood memories growing up with thier younger brother who wanted to be included in everything they did. I learned how he had been not only a proud father, but how he had been a loving and positive influence on his step son. My heart went out to his incredibly brave wife as she spoke of their love and gave thanks for all he had brought to her life. She questioned where she and the children would get the strength to carry on living without him. I thought about why God was so cruel to take him from them and I just knew that her strength would come from the people she was surrounded with this morning. As in all situations of stress to me, I thought what could I learn from this morning.
I learned that it is easy to underestimate those among us who walk quietly and smile gently and who live thier values and their life in peace with others. Greatness lives in small and humble actions and in the love given to others. I learned the true meaning of the word 'gentle-man'.
His parents can be so so proud of raising this gentleman - I wish I had known him better.