Most of you reading this know of the strange parallels between the assassinations of presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. How Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre, and Kennedy in a Lincoln. And further how Lincoln had a Kennedy in his cabinet, and Kennedy a Ford.
It’s an interesting study to be sure, charting all the eerie similarities between the two events. And while there may be no correlation between the them, it’s how our brains are wired.
We are designed to look for patterns, make connections.
While not the point of this post, in my estimation this is the touchstone of all the best writing: the frisson which occurs when two previously seemingly unrelated ideas are connected. Stephen King has made a lucrative career of this very thing–because it’s what he loves to do, unearth those connections.
Consider that a freebie, because as I said, that isn’t the point of this post. No, it’s a little more personal than that.
Similar to the parallels between the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, I see a pattern emerging in my life. In a nutshell:
My paternal grandfather, Robert Guy Jones, was uninvolved in my dad’s life. Likewise, my dad has largely been uninvolved in mine. The elder Jones died at the age of forty-three, purportedly on his way to the pharmacy.
My dad was fourteen when this happened. I am soon to be forty-three, and my own son is almost fourteen…
Now I’m not one given to conspiracy theories, so please bare with me: my paternal grandfather had some ailment that lead to his untimely death–perhaps inherited. Likewise, I have sleep apnea, thyroid disease, and was born with only one kidney. So it would at least seem that I inherited some undesirable traits.
Did my grandfather have apnea? Did this lead to a heart condition? I don’t know. It is a mystery to me–because my dad doesn’t know, and his oldest sister–my aunt, who would have known best–is dead.
It would seem that any meaningful avenues of inquiry are thus shut to me.
Thus, with a lack of evidence to light the way, the pattern I see begins to take on more meaning. While not, perhaps, entirely rational, it is–like the case of Lincoln and Kennedy–not entirely without merit.
In light of these eerie similarities, I have begin to ponder my own mortality. How much time do I have left? Unlike my grandfather, will I be here for my son’s fifteenth birthday? Will I be around to walk my daughter down the aisle?
I don’t know. What I do is that I haven’t slept well in years, my thyroid condition isn’t getting better, and I have yet to spontaneously sprout another kidney (will the one I have last my whole life through?).
It’s not that I fear death, per se, rather that I fear death’s consequences for those that I would leave behind: my wife, kids, family, friends…
I know that none of these things are given me to know–my life, and it’s length, are in God’s hands where they belong. And by all accounts that I know, is more than my grandfather had.
Indeed more than own my dad has now.
So now? Now, I trust and obey–knowing that God will take me in His time.
How about you? Have you felt the cold winds of mortality blow? Do you yet look forward in faith?