Gone Too Soon …

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Monday, October 01, 2007
Gone Too Soon… Current mood: contemplative

This is a blog from my myspace page
I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I this was really on my heart today.
October 1, 2007 (4:53pm)
Gone Too Soon…
I only saw Dennis one time. He and his wife and stepdaughter were here in town for a wedding that he was officiating. While my friend and I were enjoying a visit with his wife, he said hello to us and left to put the final touches on his preparation for the service. I’m a pretty good judge of character, and fairly cynical when it comes to trusting “clergy,” but my first impression of him was “This is a man I could trust my soul with.” That virtually never happens with me. He had kind eyes and I could tell he cared for the couple that were getting married that day.

I got to know him better through looking at his myspace page. It is filled with moving meditations written for different weeks of the liturgical year, as well as a rich list of books that were his favorites.
I got a chance to get a better picture of who he was through his wife. You can tell a lot about a man by how his wife talks about him. I loved the descriptive word pictures she used to describe him, his character, and his care and protection for her. I was very glad to see that they had found each other. After their visit here he began to have troubling physical symptoms. On September 11th they got the diagnosis of cancer, and the prognosis was not good. In the mean time an online journal was set up so that those who loved them could keep informed and pray for them. I was not surprised, reading the guestbook, how many people truly loved him and how many lives he had deeply touched. He struck me as a man who was really alive and wanted to live life to the fullest… and as someone who cared deeply about the people who populated his world.
On Saturday, I talked briefly with his wife, who was at his bedside as he was dying. I’m so glad that I had a chance to get in touch with her, so I could pray for them at that time. I found myself praying and weeping for them and their family. I also found myself thinking about this man’s life. He was the kind of guy who invested in others and in what he believed in. I was thinking about some of the other people I’ve known who’s lives seem to end so early… and how all of their lives have caused me to stop and reevaluate my own life, and remember how precious each moment we have with each other is. It made me remember that I need to live my life the way Dennis did. I’m sure I won’t be the only one either. I am sure there are people who are teaching with a passion now because of his influence. I’m sure there are kids who believe that they can succeed with their education and make a difference in their worlds because of him. I’m sure there are people who will remember him and remember that God himself loved them and reached out to them through Dennis. I’m sure others, like me were reminded that in the religious community with the all the fakes and posers, that there are men who are trustworthy and who can be trusted to faithfully shepherd our souls. I know he leaves behind children and a wife who knew they were greatly
loved.

So, here I celebrate a live well lived. Here I celebrate a man who got what was important in life. And here I offer a prayer that God would hold his wife and family in the hollow of His hand and meet them in this time of grief. Here I offer the challenge that we live our lives with that same passion, grace and mercy, and that we would care for each other the way that Dennis did. I hate death… I hate the destruction. God and I have had more than one heated discussion about that topic.

In the end I’m thankful for that encounter with Dennis. I’m thankful for the friendship of his wife Rhonda. I believe our meeting was no accident. She’s become very dear to my heart in the time I’ve known her. I’m grateful for her willingness to include me in her world.

So today I’m grieving, and I am sad, and my eyes have looked a lot like giant swollen golf balls the last few days. In the future, when I think of this man and his family… I know that it will spur me on to live my life in the moment fully.
At the end of Rhonda’s moving announcement of is passing she said this…
“at 11:24 p.m. Dennis’ hand was taken by God to lead him into eternity.
Dennis Lee Cagle, January 27, 1951 – September 29, 2007
May eternal light shine upon him.”

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