Last night, my friend and coworker Paul Isaacs died from cancer, passing peacefully, surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Though I never had Paul as a classroom teacher, he became a mentor in my life in ways words can’t describe. The way he lived his life was a model I respected and admired. His wry sense of punny humor cracked me up almost every time. And his down-to-earth, welcoming voice calmed and gave a sense of peace.
As I’m discovering, befriending members of an older generation comes with a price. Though God alone may count our days, there exists an inherent likelihood that my older friends will die before me, perhaps long before me. I continue to struggle to wrap my mind around that reality. Simply put, I don’t want to.
Life rarely waits for anyone to “be ready”, though. And so, on the same day that I attended a wedding, heard God’s love spoken into my life, worshipped, prayed, cried, and even ran mundane errands, Paul had his last hours.
I found out this morning, the first email came from a mutual friend and coworker a little before 9:00. Official word from Paul’s principal came almost an hour later, after much of Facebook already knew. Finally, later in the day, we were given the go-ahead to post something on the school’s home page.
Days like today ignite in me a passion to work in the news industry. We live in a flat world, the word has to get out, people have to be told. To wait an hour, or worse, half a day, is unconscionable. News ought be instantaneous to the greatest degree possible.
Today God and I aren’t on good terms. If I’m honest, I’m pretty much pissed. Paul was younger than my parents, he has kids about my age, and he was a good man. If ever one needed proof that “only the good die young”, Paul epitomizes that. How God could allow this, why God offers healing to some but not others, these are the questions I’m battling. And I’m angry, and I’m sad, and I’m frustrated, and I’m torn.
And it’s okay, because God is big enough to handle my anger, my frustration, my questions. And it’s okay, because some day I will find peace. Maybe not answers, but peace. Paul did. His family did. I can too. Eventually.
Just not today.