Farewell to my DG… Mr. James

Posted on March 24, 2010. Filed under: Life |

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of my Director General, Mr. Rosemond James. He was the Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA). He was the other staff member, along with Greg, who was missing in Haiti after the earthquake. The funeral, yesterday, was a great testament to his accomplishments and the amount of persons who knew him and who were impacted by his life. When I was first hired at ECCAA in 2003, Mr. James was a manager here. At that time, he was the manager of the Air Navigation Services division. Within a few years, he became the Acting Director, and then after ECCAA gained Category 1 status, he became the Director General. He was always a person who loved technology, and frequently passed by my office to see if I checked out some new software. Recently, he had kept coming to my office to see if I had gotten a copy of Windows 7, tested it, and had an opinion of it. Personally, I am never quick to check out new software from Microsoft, especially new versions of Windows. So, he was kinda disappointed the last few times. During his funeral, I realized that although you saw a person every day, you can still know little about them. He was very involved in a number of social and community-oriented groups, and was an active member of his church. The biggest thing I took from the service, though, was that you never know really when “your time” is. The priest who gave the homily made a statement that caused me to think a bit. He said (and I’m paraphrasing),
“We often say that a person died ‘before their time’, but we can’t say when someone’s time is. Some people die at 101, and other die young. All we can really say is that someone died early, and although we would like to have Rosemond here a little longer, we have to believe that he is with God, and we must continue on living.”
His words made me think of how life really is. The truth is that we have no guarantee of anything in this life. None of us can add one single second to your own lives. We really have no power, although many of us think that we so much control over what happens to us. Several persons that I know have died in the past year, and many of them died unexpectedly, without warning, without so much as a signal. Rosemond and Geg died from an earthquake. Dan Samuel died from a sudden brain aneurysm. One day he was perfectly fine. The next he was in a coma that he never recovered from. Who is to say why these things happen? The priest even made this statement. The fact is that things happen. Some people love to be quick to blame God or ask why God “allows” these things to happen. I find it strange that people are quick to blame God for when tragedy happens, but never remember God when everything is going good, or when a tragedy is avoided. Why don’t persons ask why God “allows” good things to happen? Do we really believe that God sits down and ponders whether he should allows this or that to happen? Let’s face it, God doesn’t promise us anything in this life, except that if we believe in Christ we will have everlasting life. None of us know how long we will live, when we will die, or how we will die. None of us have control over it. All we know is that one day we will die. We can ask God for mercy, so as to prolong our life, but even that is not guaranteed. What God does allow us to have is LIFE. So, while we have it, what will we do with it? How will we use it? Isn’t it precious? We don’t know when we will loose it, so why not use it to do honorable things, which will leave an impression on the lives of others and honor the God who gave us life. For Mr. James I realize that he touched many lives, and most of all, he loved his daughter so very much. Can we say that we have loved our family members and those close to us? How have we treated people with the life that God has given us? One person who gave a tribute at the funeral, who was a member of the same group which went to Haiti, said that he had just happened to change his flight to a later flight for that day. He was booked on the exact same flight as Greg and Rosemond, but he changed it for no real purpose other then a time-of day preference. He admitted that it could have been him in the coffin that day. You know, one of the things that made me think is that I have come to understand that Mr. James had often taken his family with him on his business travels. However, this time he didn’t. But, I was thinking, what if he did. Then what? What would have happened? He has a 3 year old daughter, just a year older than my daughter. Imagine what would happen and the loss we would have had if his family was with him. For me, I have to ask myself the question, isn’t God in that too? Couldn’t God have saved his family from death?  Who knows? The fact is that they have life, and they have the chance to impact others as Mr. James had during his life. One passage that comes to mind for me is Ecclesiastes 9. I will close with this scripture quote of Ecclesiastes 9: 10-12 (NLT):
10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. 11 I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. 12 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.
So, let’s live our life right in God’s sight. Let us do right to others. It is just not worth it to infringe on other’s freedom and peace. We should love our neighbors and love God. If you don’t, what benefit would you have if you lived a selfish life, hurt others, and died? All you would leave behind are broken people with broken hearts, who may continue the cycle of selfishness that you had perpetuated in your life. Let us seek to do good. Help others, and trust God.
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