On June 28th, the call came in. There was a suspicious fire in a new restaurant located in Thendara, located just outside of Old Forge, New York. It was totally destroyed as the firefighters also sought to fight back the threat of it spreading to a nearby gas storage facility as well.
Arriving at the fire moments after receiving the call, the fire chief never left his car. Suffering from a heart attack, he couldn’t move his legs. The next day, he died.
The fire chief was just 46 years old.
The fire chief was my grandfather.
I never knew him.
On Easter Sunday of 2017, I will turn 47. For most of my life, I have had this birthday circled on my calendar. I thought, if only I can make it to 47, I win. I wish I hadn’t ever thought this way. All it takes just a little bit of fear in one’s life and like yeast, it spreads.
The truth is, no one knows the number of their days. Yet, when we let just the smallest bit of fear take up residence within us, that’s all it takes. Unchecked fear always metastasizes into more fear. When we let fear control any part of us, we’ll start trying to control everyone else around us.
When we do this, it has a way of starting more fires. When we do this, we stop living.
Interestingly, I read this week that Dr. Eugene Retzbach of Old Forge stated that grandpa had no prior history of heart disease and that the heart attack was brought on by over excitement of the fire. I guess I had no reason to circle this date on my calendar after all.
But maybe Someone else had it circled instead? All these years I had it circled on a calendar, yet for whatever reason, I never checked the actual day it landed on. Who would have ever guessed that after all these years, this birthday of all birthdays, would land on Easter?
And I suppose, why not? With all this fear I’ve been carrying all these years, if resurrection means anything to me, it means no more fear, for death has lost its sting.
And this makes me think..
I can finally fear not, for He is risen indeed.