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Life full of Meaning

A few days ago I attended a funeral for a man whose life ended at 41 years. Since I am living my 82nd year, the experience provoked in me several questions. But foremost, I am wondering what purpose my remaining years must have. I have been given exceptional health, and vitality. And when it has been threatened, medical treatment has been successful. So I hope to still be a blessing to our family and others with my remaining years, or months.

I have committed myself to writing about two of my previous generations of Hagemeyers especially since I am the only family member living with detailed memory of them. I have a deep desire to stitch things together, to help make our story meaningful to our children and grandchildren.

But another thing I have felt called to do is making contact with certain friends or classmates who are still available (!). When I have done this, it has always been gratifying. On one occasion I visited a man who was terminally ill, but energetic and living at home, whom I had known only as a colleague, but one who was always an encourager to me. That visit was deeply gratifying as we reflected on our lives together, and when we parted, we both knew it was for the last time. Another person I visited was a classmate whose limitations now keep him from traveling and attending any gatherings. We have not seen each other more than a couple times since our days in seminary. But here again, we reconnected and enjoyed some good laughs as well as serious moments in which we touched on some of the deeper concerns of life. Once I reached out to an old acquaintance the old-fashioned way. I wrote him a letter. He wrote back eagerly and we corresponded once more after that.

On a couple other occasions I have had a coffee visit with someone who is a few years ahead of me, but whom I thought might feel out of touch with friends because he has outlived almost all of them. Both times we had lively visits and I learned some special lessons in that way. I cannot name all of the special contacts I have made in this way, but each turned out to be a gratifying event. Sometimes I have simply asked for help or information on a subject I have been working on. These acquaintances have been eager to discuss a serious matter. I suspect they don’t get many requests anymore. Perhaps some people think that once a professor, a scholar, or a pastor, retires, they don’t have anything to offer. I have always found these conversations enriching and enjoyable.

We are all searching for ways to make life meaningful and enjoyable. That’s why we visit family members, and we go to sports or performances where our grandchildren appear. I believe life is meaningful when things are growing more connected, and they make sense. Reconnecting with people with whom I may have lost touch is one way God has made my life meaningful. Perhaps it will be so for you, too.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you,

because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

2nd Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT)

© 2021 Stanley Hagemeyer

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