Thursday, May 9, 2013

I Watched a Man Die in Houston

I don't generally employ this blog as a personal  journal in the sense that I write about what is currently transpiring in my life, but this time I felt it right to include among my posts something powerful that happened within this past week.  Flying back from seeing my extended family in South Carolina my sisters and I had a layover in the Houston Bush Airport.  We chatted and decided to indulge in a final farewell dinner together where we reviewed the events of the past four days together.  Upon paying the check and rising from the table I turned to see a man laying prostrate just outside the restaurant with a frantic group of strangers trying to revive him.  One had a cell phone and a very distressed look on her face.  Immediately I ran to see if I could be of assistance.

When I saw this man's face, distorted though it was in his unconsciousness, I knew immediately that this was a very strong man of God.  The light in his countenance shone even through the final agonies of life.  A friend of mine asked me to never tell the disturbing details of this incident again so I will take her advice and forebear.  I opened a binder he had dropped in search of some clue as to who he was and sure enough, the first thing I saw upon opening it was notes to a sermon that it seemed he was preparing to give.  As I watched I felt this man's spirit rise and leave his body.  My sisters felt the same.  Later, as we waited by our gate my eldest sister turned to me and saw my usually stoic eyes filled with tears.  She likely thought I was sad or distressed at the situation.  Not so.  I told her that I could feel the great joy of those who had gathered to welcome him home.  I could feel the outstretched arms toward this man who had touched the lives of so many, and it testified to me that death, the great leveler of this world is, to those who live well, a joyous release into something so profoundly better that our present finite understanding cannot comprehend it.

My friends, this man was without a traveling companion.  No one knew who he was save for the identification we found on him.  Yet I know that no one who has lived well truly dies alone.  This man had multitudes awaiting him, surrounding him on all sides and welcoming him into a beautiful and glorious rest.  It brings me to mind of the last time I traveled to South Carolina to see my family, to attend my dear cousin Roger's funeral after a very unexpected and "lonely" death.  Thousands of people on this side gathered to bid him farewell and I cannot help but believe that many more than that stayed by his side and carried him home. 

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