September 29th, 2016 by Carl Buffington
Originally Sent to parish via email September 4, 2016
Tommy, Barb's youngest of four brothers, and I put our feet up on our wickerish coffee
table, and turned on the weather to watch all the swirling chaos. The weather folks really
come alive when the tropics perk up. So much more to say than, "Hot and humid with
a 30% chance ..." It was day's end for us and was topped off with a root beer and iced tea.
Tommy, a cabinetmaker by trade, had taken a few days of his vacation for me to help him put up my crown molding. Upon arriving he said, "You know how to do crown molding don't you? (pause) You hire someone." Now, at day's end, all that was left was putty, caulk, and paint, and he would leave that for me.
The rest of the family was soon to arrive for dinner to spend some time with Tommy. The chaos on the TV was nothing compared to what would soon erupt in our home. But first...
We have a metal sign above our front door that reads, "there is no plan B."
When Whitney saw "there is no plan B" in a book she was reading she texted me this paragraph, which has really grown on and in me:
The average human gets around 25,000 days on this earth, and most of us in the United States of America will get a few more. That's it. This life is a breath. Heaven is coming fast, and we live in that thin space where faith and obedience have relevance. We have this one life to offer; there is no second chance, no plan B for the good news. We get one shot at living to expand the kingdom, fighting for justice. We'll stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We'll have one moment to say, "This is how I lived."
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker p.66
My first realization was when I did the math and I found out I was about 280
days over the average. My second realization, once again, was that our
It was about 6:15, dinner was coming together -- salad and dessert had
arrived, the meat was on the grill, potatoes in the oven -- when Barb's phone
rang and I saw it was her sister, Betty, from LA who had recently had some
eye surgery, hence the call I supposed. I was wrong. I handed Barb the
phone and watched her mouth the words, "Oh no!" and slump over the
The news was bad! Horrible. Her younger brother Jimmy had died a couple
hours before the call. He was working out at the gym at his work place and
had a heart attack. The existential shock blew through the rooms, as we
were all stunned and unbelieving. He was too young, at least several
thousand short of his allotted 25K.
At the end of the day, day's end, with our feet up and root beer in hand, what
At the end of our days, when days end, what is the value of our days?
How have we lived our days at day's end and when days end? What will we
It speaks so boldly and starkly of our days together and of their true value. Linking arms last Sunday in church came rushing back to me as now our family linked our hearts in grief in our home.
How precious is the day!
As I remember that we are but a breath, I find the scriptures for Sunday really helpful:
CHOOSE (Deut), and
COUNT THE COST (Luke ), be
CONFORMED (Jer), and know you are
CHERISHED! (Ps 139)
I hope to flesh out these words out a bit more on Sunday. And for those curious about the directory, I'll leave it in the narthex for nostalgic perusal.