Posted by on June 30, 2020

A neighbor died this morning.

I don’t even know if it was a man neighbor or a woman neighbor.  I never met the people who lived in the single-wide on the cul-de-sac across from our house.  The only thing I knew about the place was that it was reputed to house a drug dealer (some neighbors say they had seen deals going down in broad daylight from the window of the single-wide).

I was awakened around 4:45 this morning by the blinking blue/white/red lights of an ambulance, a couple of police cars, and other vehicles.  It was still dark, so it was hard to see exactly what was going on, but every now and then I could see someone walk behind the ambulance past the blinking lights.

I went back to bed and didn’t get up for another hour.  By that time four or five people had gathered outside the single-wide, one man dressed in nothing but a pair of shorts.  A man was bringing a gurney from the house.  Now the ambulance had been replaced with a vehicle that I assume was from a funeral home.  Perhaps it was a funeral home employee who was guiding the gurney.

With nothing more happening to offer any more information I moved to the TV room for my morning devotions.  When I finished I checked my phone.  Our across-the-street neighbor had texted me to report that, indeed, someone had died and s/he had overdosed.  

In the midst of all this I started to think about the impact of this person’s death.  S/he is not around to experience the sunshine of this beautiful morning.  The cool breeze.  The many sounds of nature.  The promise of possibilities that another day holds.  This is it for that person.  Their life is no longer bound by time and space.  Their choices have brought them to this moment of sudden extinction.  Only God can care for them now.

And, what about those choices?  Once again, another statistic has been added to the continuously growing numbers of God’s children who fall slave to substance abuse.  Is that all there is for that person?  Is s/he just another number?  “Hi.  I was born, I grew up into adulthood, I got hooked on drugs, and now I’m gone.”  What kind of legacy is that?

I pray for whoever the survivors may be.  It doesn’t matter that my dead neighbor made bad choices.  S/he must have been part of some group — family, friends, “business associates,” whatever — who, for whatever reason, are going to grieve his/her death.  They’re going to need comfort and healing.  

Will there also be a lesson learned?  Will those who knew this person, and who could quite possibly be living the same drug-oriented lifestyle, wake up to the incredible risks involved?  Who knows?  Probably not.  But I can always pray for renewed insight and better choices for those who remain.

A neighbor died this morning.

If nothing else, it should give us all pause.  And a reason to evaluate our own choices.

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