Thunderbolt on a Clear Day

It was a sunny Easter Sunday in LA.

Four of Tony’s old friends welcomed him with a sumptuous lunch and raucous reminiscences of shared young-and-foolish years.
They later moved to the coffee shop where I was meeting up with my dear friend Lucy, whom I have not also seen in years. The laughter was so loud it might have resounded all the way to the Philippines.

That lively and vibrant day set the tone for the reunion of pals who live on opposite ends of the world but found time to re-connect. The song in my mind then was Barbara Streisand’s “On a clear day you can see forever.”

But forever was not to be.

Just ten days later, while Tony and I continued with our travels, this time traipsing all over New York, we received word that one of those four friends, Art, had a heart attack and passed away.

No hints. No warnings. No good-byes.

It was a heartbreaking, shocking news, like a thunderbolt on a clear day. It can’t be, we cried. Those frightening thunderbolts happen only on a stormy day, not when the sky is blue. But this time, it did.

Because such is life.

Those whom we hold dear today may be gone tomorrow. Which is why we can’t, and shouldn't, postpone re-connecting, in whatever way we can, while we still have time. It is a small comfort that Tony and friends were with Art for one short day, one last time.

We grieve with Art’s family and loved ones. But we also thank God for the life He gave Art to share with kith and kin. He will be painfully missed, but never, ever, be forgotten.

Because such is grace.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

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