Everything Was So Normal
It was Friday, October 13th. As was his custom, he went to the gym. After his workout, he showered, then he went to the lobby where he grabbed a quick coffee. As he often did, he chatted up the women at the reception desk. Then he left.
The rest of his Friday was just as unremarkable as his morning. Saturday was equally normal. But Sunday afternoon he began to feel under the weather. Still, he didn’t really think anything of it. “Some rest and some fluids, and I should be fine,” he said. So he took it easy the rest of that Sunday. But Monday he was still struggling. Late afternoon on Monday, October 16, 2017, he lay down for a nap. But when he woke up, he found himself on the other side of the divide between us and heaven.
Just one month before, he was at his doctor who told him he would live into his nineties.
The man who left us this way is my dad.
He’s a believer, so, for him, it was the best day of his life.
But for us, his family, these are some of the hardest days of our lives.
A Billionaire’s Scaling Problem
I often write about the brevity of life on this blog, and sometimes I feel like the voice of one crying in the wilderness — of the internet.
What can I say to persuade you? Your time is short. My time is short. Today I read about a 35-year-old gamer and father of three who died 22 hours into a marathon live stream. So far they don’t know why. (USA Today)
Life is fragile. It will be over sooner than you think. And then there’s infinitude.
The day my dad died I heard about a billionaire venture capitalist who was in a meeting shouting at the people in the room because he’s afraid he’ll get Alzheimer’s: I’m 48 years old. We need to cure Alzheimer’s. I’ll give a billion dollars to any company who can tell me they’ll find a cure. (I’m paraphrasing here. I didn’t get a quote from the person who told me about it.)
He can’t seem to convince them how short the time is.
Sometimes I feel like that guy, except for one important difference.
My friend who told me about the billionaire venture capitalist made a statement that I found to be very insightful. He said, “That guy has a scaling problem.” Because even if his billion dollars results in a company that becomes really great at curing Alzheimer’s, it only scales until some other vital part of the body fails. And at that point, he still has eternity to deal with. His time without Alzheimer’s here on earth is minuscule by comparison.
The solution to the problem of Alzheimer’s might be found by that billionaire venture capitalist. But as great a discovery as that might be, there’s still death and then eternity. And the solution to the problem of eternity is found in the eternal Son of God.
“You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes,” we’re told in the book of James. One day everything is normal. A few days later it’s over. (James 4:14)
What happened to my dad reminds me of Jesus’ words,
“This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
Your time is your treasure. Use whatever time you have left to be rich toward God. Use whatever time you have left to turn your attention to Jesus and his words. Do whatever you can to follow his words. Study him. Nothing’s more important.
The solution to the problem of eternity is found in the eternal Son of God.
Surrender your life to him, before it’s too late.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
–Jesus Christ, Mark 8:36
Don Bennett’s Obituary
Don Leroy Bennett, 78, died Monday, October 16th, 2017 at his home in Talent, Oregon.
Don spent the majority of his young life in Chicago, focusing on athletics, competing in football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and boxing.
He had a life-long love affair with all things Chicago including the Chicago Bears, the Chicago White Sox, and The Blues Brothers movie, which he brought with him to the West Coast when he and his wife relocated to Talent in the early 1980s.
He and his wife Cynthia together made an amazing team. As mental health professionals, they impacted too many lives to count. And they excelled when it came to loving people and building businesses.
Don loved being at the center of all things social including a good story, and a good party. He perfected the art storytelling, making strangers into friends, remembering birthdays, and saying the right thing to someone who was hurting.
He and Cynthia split their time between Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Talent, Oregon, for decades and he will be missed by circles of friends in both.
He loved his family deeply. His wife Cynthia, his children and their spouses Kurt & Kathy, Kim, Karla & David, Jess & Patrick, and all his grandchildren: Kody & Sofia, Kaleb, Elizabeth, Gabe & Charise, Kassidy & Miriam, Nate & Anastasia, and Vivienne. He once sat at a Thanksgiving Dinner where he surveyed his tribe of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and with a wave of his hand he said with pride: “I did all this.”
If anything’s right in this universe we know he now has a full head of hair and his hearing is back.
He fought the battle that was set before him. But now his battle is over and he has entered into peace with his Father.
If you would like to celebrate the life of Don Bennett, please join us at Paschal Winery (1122 Suncrest Road, Talent, OR) Friday, October 27th. A memorial service will be held at 5:30 pm, and a celebration of life social event will be held from 6:30pm-8:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Don Bennett’s name to “The Champions Academy” at http://pdxchampions.org/get-involved/.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Gamer Dies 22 Hours Into Marathon Live Stream, USA Today, 2/23/2017
Kurt, I am so sorry for your loss. I am also rejoicing because Don lead a life well lived and is reunited with a host of family that went before him. What a wonderful blog post you wrote! Blessings to you and your family! I am not sure if we’ve ever met – if so I was little! I am Roger Bennett’s daughter.
Thanks for reaching out Kimberly! We appreciate all the love poured out to us since dad died. We’re missing him.
Sorry to hear about the unexpected passing of your dad. It must be quite a shock to you and your extended family considering he was given a clean bill of health recently. He sounded like a wonderful guy who made a positive influence on those he came in contact with.
Thank you Doug. We miss him.
My prayers are to you and your family, Kurt. May your consolation and confidence continue to be in Christ and knowing that while your father’s gone physically you’ll see him again.
I’ve just recently given my life back to God last month after 13 years abrtoad. I didn’t understand the title of your site until God’s Spirit opened my eyes to who I am to Him. My God! Through your blogs I have been blessed with so much insight, food for prayer, and spiritual understanding of issues I didn’t even know that I had. It’s so selfless of you to be going through a time of grieving like this and use it as an opportunity to minister to and compel others to give their life to Jesus. When anyone else would be so focused on what they’re going through to think about others, you made it about Jesus. That’s how it should be, regardless, of anything we face in this life. May God continue to bless you and use your blogs as one of His communication lines.
Our family appreciates you reaching out Crystal. I pray God’s Spirit will continue to draw you closer and closer to Jesus as you continue walking with him.
Kurt, this is so beautifully written. I am so glad that your dad did not suffer, that the Lord took him home without him worrying about tomorrow. That in itself is a blessing, but I know how terribly hard this is for your whole family, and Bob and I grieve with you.
It means a lot to Kathy and I that you and Bob would grieve with us Cindy. Tell Bob we miss you both. When do you move to LV so we can come see you?
Linda and I are so sorry to hear about your dad passing. Blessings to all of you
Kathy and I appreciate that Rick!