Greetings on a beautiful Monday morning here in Chicago. Yesterday was certainly a busy, bittersweet day. I rode in a great 50-mile bike ride all morning, then after some rest, attended the wake service for Charlie Odegard, whose funeral Mass begins in two hours at Saint Giles Church in Oak Park. We will have a choir, two flutists, and a cellist at the Mass. It should be a fitting celebration of Charlie's life.
Times like this, when someone much younger is diagnosed with cancer and then passes away in a fairly short period of time, call forth some deep introspection and reflection on life. In the midst of the "why" questions, I want Charlie's death to have a deep impact on the way I live my life. Charlie is the third friend to die this year, so I guess all of these wonderful people, whose lives ended way too early, have me thinking deeply about the way I live my own life.
I know it sound like a cliche, but I am coming to realize that every moment is simply precious. Yesterday, while on this bike ride, we were in a rural area southwest of Chicago, about 23 miles into the ride. I was working hard getting up a hill. I looked up and there was a deer in the road ahead of me and I just stared at it, marveling at its beauty. It was gone in an instant. So much of what enters our lives is just like that; here one moment and gone in an instant. The problem is that too often we forget to cherish that moment. This is what I have been doing for these past several months: recalling the moments I had with these wonderful people and at least cherishing the memories. It has helped me. If you have a moment at 10:30 (CDT) this morning, please pause and say a prayer for the repose of Charlie's soul, for Jennifer, and for the many, many who loved Charlie Odegard.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.