Happy (Heavenly) Birthday, Ian
Today, Ian would be celebrating his 28th Birthday! We can only wonder what he’d have up his sleeve! It would be a day full of adventure, for sure. Perhaps a dawn patrol surf session, followed by a slide down Tantalus, dinner with his best girl and time with the family.
He’s been gone for nearly five years. Even as the years pass, the “missing” is still daily for us. Sorrow is still smoldering in the deep recesses of our souls, just as Ground Zero did for an inexplicably long time. The hardest hurdle for me to clear after losing Ian was accepting that his life was so short. Why was he taken in the prime of his life?
A few months ago, I ran across this quotation: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” The quote is attributed to French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal, but similar quotes have been made by other great thinkers and writers, including the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and Henry David Thoreau.
This simple saying acknowledges what all serious writers know; it is much harder to produce a quality, short piece of writing. After all, it’s easy to ramble and simply get your thoughts down on paper. It’s much harder to prune away unnecessary words and replace it with succinct and focused ones that tell the reader exactly what you mean.
It can be a painful process to cut back and edit copy, but the result is worth the time. As the creator of a piece of writing, there is a great sense of pride when you find the perfect words, achieve those flawless transitions and hit just the right tone – with brevity.
Somehow, I had never heard that simple saying. It resonated with me deeply. “How true!” I thought, as it related to writing. Then, as often happens, my mind went straight to Ian. Perhaps God has a similar motto? Could a shorter life be a higher quality life? Did God prune away all that was unnecessary and jam pack his short life with all that was needed?
We know that a longer life would have been better for all of US left behind, but would it have been better in the eyes of the creator? Ian’s short life was filled with goodness. His life hit the right tone on most days. His words were usually kind and loving. He was always inclusive and thoughtful. Ian’s life was not perfect. He experienced the pain of the creator’s pruning along the way.
But in the end, perhaps God looked at Ian’s brief life with a great sense of pride…
So short. So sweet. A quality life composed flawlessly by the master.
In a few short years, God gave us an example of how to love and live well.
As we each continue to ramble around on our own life journey, Ian reminds us that life is short … and a truly quality life doesn’t require anything more.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NKJ