Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Riches of Life

My cousin Keith passed away a couple of days ago. It's a sad time for the family, although the loss was expected. He had been fighting cancer for quite a long time. In the end, the pain and suffering was excruciating for both him and his family that cared for him. As is true in many cases, death can be a blessing as the spirit sheds the pain of the diseased-ridden body.

I haven't seen Keith in years. In some respects this is probably a blessing for me. I never really saw him in a state of ill health so my memories will always be of a vital and strong teenager and man. Most of my memories of Keith involve childhood visits to my grandparents, from whom he lived a short distance away. He was 9 years older than me, so much of what I remember about him was holding him in awe. From my perspective, he was a handsome, powerful, playful teen who had a mischievous side and occasionally took the time to show my sisters and I the wonders of nature in the woods behind his house.

When you're young, the future shines like light glinting off a brilliant diamond, always inviting, always promising more riches to come. Keith's future, like so many others, shined brightly. He wanted to be an electrician like his father. He married his high school sweetheart and embarked on his journey into adulthood.

Unfortunately, life doesn't always turn out like we plan. Many of us reach middle age, look around at the dullness of everyday life, and wonder where time has gone and where that far-off diamond may be hiding. Keith was no exception.Those goals he had in his youth did not materialize as he hoped. In the end, the misery that is cancer took him on a journey of pain and suffering that seems in some respects too great a burden to bear.

Still, before you begin to believe that all is lost for someone like Keith, take a closer look. He may not have had the career of his dreams. He may not have had ended up with that perfect relationship or the brilliant life we all envision when we're young. Keith did have one thing that shines more brightly than all others--love.

Keith had the love of a family that was always there for him. They were there to celebrate all his highs. They were there to support him in all of his lows. In the end, their love surrounded him as he traveled the path that is cancer.They continued to hold his hand until he was finally able to feel that same love that waited for him on the other side of the divide between this life and the next.

The riches of life don't come from reaching the destination.They are obtained through experiences--great jewels of wisdom and truth--as we travel along the way. They are born of choices. They are born of pain and suffering. They are born as we gain new strength to overcome the obstacles we all face. It is the process of learning and growth that enriches us all and the reason we ultimately make this spiritual journey.

Never doubt Keith found his riches. Never doubt you are in process of finding yours.

I will always love you, Keith.Until we meet again!
~Cindy Shippy Evans

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