Last week, I saw the surprise of those I follow on Twitter, as it was announced that Philip Seymour Hoffman, a man many people considered “great”, had been found dead in  a hotel room.  Obviously it is a tragedy that he suffered from an overdose, any loss of life, before someone has reached old age, is never a  good thing, if someone has a talent or ability and they  decide they have had enough of living, throwing it all away by committing suicide is such a shame!

I also found out that a neighbour of my parents passed away in hospital, in contrast to Hoffman, he wasn’t famous, he wasn’t rich. But I do wonder if his life actually had more of an positive impact than that of Hoffman!  I lived opposite this man for almost a decade, saw him in the street, greeted him etc. But I never got round to getting to know him better!  There was another man, who I also regret  not talking to more, he was in the armed forces decades before and one remembrance Sunday, he brought along photos and was willing to talk about his experiences, I was so preoccupied with getting other stuff done, I did not sit down and listen to him.

The reason I wonder if my parents neighbour, had a more impactful life than Hoffman, is that I discovered recently that he was a stalwart member/helper at a club for those with “physical handicaps”, not only that but he would happily cut the lawns for people who were unable to do it themselves.  All this and I am unsure if he ever made a “commitment to the Lord“! He puts some of us who claim to have made that commitment to shame!  As Ecclesiastes says a “wise person thinks about death“, my great-uncle died over a month ago and I thought it was really odd, the only time I ever met the guy was when I was little, so I have no recollection of it!

I was watching the “Bill Nye vs Ken Ham” debate, one thing that was said, by Nye , was about the “joy of discovery“, everyone relishes in it, from the little baby “discovering” that they can fit their to  in their mouth, to the parent “discovering” that their child is expecting a child of their own (not always the case I know, but most people are happy with that news!)  But what is the point of emotion and “joy” if at the end of our life we are nothing but bodies/ash in the ground? If as Ecclesiastes says countless times “everything is meaningless”, what is the point of life?

I saw this recently

“A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’

DAD: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.

SON: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.

SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’

SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: ‘May I please borrow $25?’

The father was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.’
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked.

‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy.

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money and started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours… But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.”

I am not one to forward silly “chain letter” type emails but this struck me, after my wife and I went on a church-run parenting course, the one thing that stuck in my mind was “I really need to work out my priorities with my time at home“, some days I may feel like I am rushing from one thing to another, but taking time out to listen and spend time with people is a better use of my time and actually will help my own stress levels!

No one ever says in eulogies “O they loved doing overtime” or “they always came home late instead of leaving early“, you are gonna be remembered for listening and being there when you are needed! Jesus knew when to walk away when it was necessary, maybe we should to!