Life throws us curve balls, more often than we would like. One of those for me was the recent passing of a favorite uncle, my Uncle Bob. He was one of 13 children. My father who is no longer with us was close in age to his brother, my Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob was the last of the 3 remaining siblings in that family. Now there are only 2. As each year passes so has the family. It is truly the passing of a generation. Most of them are all now above the clouds in God’s loving care.
It was a sad occasion for all of my many cousins and family members who remain. However, when you consider my uncle was 96, only a few days away from his 97th birthday, one could rightly say he lived a full life. As part of my uncle’s “Life’s Celebration” ceremony, we were asked to write a haiku about how we saw him.
A big smile,
An open heart,
He lived life,
At full throttle.
I could write about all his accomplishments and all that he was but not today. What I will tell you is, he was the head of Air Traffic Control for some of the largest airports in our country and a few overseas. As each of his brothers and sisters passed, he assumed the role as a father figure to all in our clan. He was loved for it and will be greatly missed.
He had a favorite sonnet that was shared at his “Life’s Celebration” that I’d like to share with you.
By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
And done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
(Note: John Gillespie Magee was an American pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War who was killed on December 11, 1941 at the young age of nineteen.)
I will leave you with this. It’s time we take our “high flight.” Life is indeed short. We never know when God decides it’s our time. What we can do is to live life at full throttle with an open heart and a big smile, much as my Uncle Bob did. If we’re lucky, we may have the chance to make a difference in this world of ours.
Life’s journey continues for some, not all…