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I’m NOT Growing Up (Even When I’m Gone)

I was saddened to hear today of the death of one of the Atlanta Parrothead Club’s most loved members, Monte Tolar. From all of the posts and pictures on Facebook, it was obvious that he loved his family, friends , and his country (he served in the Navy).  It was also obvious by his friend’s posts ad pictures that he loved life and made the world a better place… sounds like the kind of guy I would have liked to have known.

In his song “Growing Older But Not Up”, Jimmy Buffett captures an attitude that many of us live by (and from what I can tell, Monte also embraced this philosophy). Not only is it OK to have fun as we grow older, but what would life be if we didn’t? Even Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)  Although Monte’s life was sadly cut short by many years, from everything I can tell he really LIVED the life he was given (having fun AND giving himself freely to others).

While I wholeheartedly agree with the “growing older but not up” philosophy, I’m not sure it has to be an “either/or” choice. While given no other option, I know many would agree with MR. Buffett and would rather “die while they’re living, than live while they’re dead”.  While I will always be a big kid at heart, I also believe that we can have fun AND hope to live when we are dead (a whole other discussion on grace versus works ;-). As so many have sent their love to Monte and hope that he has “sailed on”, at times like this, don’t we find ourselves hoping and praying that all the fun we have had while here on earth is not all there is?

As a young boy, I remember watching the ships out on the ocean while standing on the sandy shores of VA Beach… they would at some point turn and head out over the horizon and then disappear. When I was young, I thought they were gone (the whole “flat earth thing”) but I later came to realize they were just “out of sight” (but still there).  Faith is hoping and trust that there is more to life than what we see and believing that there really is something to “sail on” towards (though we see or prove it from our limited vantage point).

My deepest condolences Monte’s family and friends, and here is to one who not only died too young while fully living, but has hopefully found something eternal beyond these finite shores.. blessings Monte, “sail on” in peace…

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