Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Life Well Lived

I have done many a memorial service in my years as a pastor, but today, for the first time, I looked at the timeline of the life of the man whose life we celebrated today.

Born Wednesday, August 8, 1923, Earl DeHaven, Sr, passed away on Friday, July 10, 2015, a total of 91 years, 11 months, and 3 days or, a total of 33,575 days.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
The gentleman left behind an incredible legacy: nine children, six stepchildren, 24 grandchildren, nine step-grandchildren; 54 great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; and 18 great-great-grandchildren.

Born during the administration of Calvin Coolidge, Earl lived through 15 presidential administrations.

In 1927 when Earl was just shy of three years of age, Charles Lindbergh made the first successful transcontinental flight. Earl also saw the start of the space age, men walk on the moon, and he was 4 days short of experiencing humanity finally visiting every large body in our solar system as the New Horizons spacecraft sped by Pluto.

Earl served on the USS Hornet during World War II as a signalman under Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr. and the story is that Halsey preferred the way Earl made coffee over everybody else. After WWII, Earl also lived through the Korean Conflict, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Vietnam War, and all the other recent conflicts we have all experienced.

Yet, Earl was a farmer almost all of his life and he lived in tune with the transition of the seasons.
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. (Genesis 8:2)
And yet in the midst of it all, Earl lived his life in very much what reminds me of the  first line of the poem, Desiderata:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

There is much wisdom that comes from being a farmer. Life is not only a teacher, but nature’s Creator speaks with a wisdom all His own:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, (Romans 1:20)
Earl was also a Christ-follower.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 10:9-11)
I suspect that when Earl opened his eyes to see the eternally green fields of Heaven, his first question was probably, “Where’s my tractor?” and the first words were that of Halsey saying, “DeHaven! Finally! It’s about time I get a decent cup of coffee up here!”

It is a privilege to know Earl’s family and it was a great honor to lead his celebration of life.

So what do I want for you to carry away from this?

You call them cemeteries. I call them “God’s library.”

Each tombstone represents a story. Write a good one. Make sure it has a happy ending and does not have for its sole purpose only to serve as a bad example. We celebrate the conversion of Scrooge with multiple readings. You only read the tragedy of Tess of the D'Urbervilles once.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (The Apostle Paul writing to his friend, Timothy)
May God's peace be with those who mourn.

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