The ambulance lights were the first things I noticed. People were standing everywhere around the house and I felt a sadness coming from their staring face as we approached the house. We were cautioned of what we would see as we entered the door. There inside a 67 year-old man lay, in the floor, blue in color and not breathing. I watched my husband say good bye to his father, and my two sons weep over their Gran Gran. We prayed a prayer of thankfulness I will never forget. We were looking at an empty shell that we call a body, but the spirit and soul was elsewhere which comforted us.
Yesterday we received a phone call that would forever change our lives. My insides were shaking, nerves on end with a thought of “this is it”. Several moments later another phone call with the news we had already suspected to be true. I made the phone call to Jeff’s sister, and he made the phone call to his mother, Benita. As ironic as it may seems we were on our way to a funeral. Benita was there at the funeral home already supporting and giving food to another family. Johnnie wanted her to go and he stayed at home alone to rest. As we drove to the house, we cried, and consoled one another. Johnnie Phillips had passed away while sleeping in his chair, watching TV, remote in hand, phone on his collar and his pet bird on his shoulder. I was happy in sense that he knew the Lord and was ready to see Jesus. He was right where he would want to be and Benita didn’t have to go through trying to save him.
James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Death is something we must all face. It is a part of life. We can deny the possibilities all we want, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The Word tells us our life is just a mist in the air, such a short time compared to eternity. Eternity is what we live for while we are here on earth. We must plan in the next few days a funeral. We must try to compile everything that has happened in this mans life in his eulogy. How can we even begin to write how great this man was or the affects he had on people, the difference he made in the lives he was around? Have you ever thought about what people would write about you at your funeral?
Johnnie was the first EMT in our county and help save many lives. He was also chief firefighter for many years. He and Benita owned a small mom and pop grocery store for over thirty years and knowing everyone in the community. If you ever wanted anything, they were the first to give it to you. They were the central station of knowledge, happenings, direction, gas, hardware and just plain straightforward advice. They have made many memories in our county. I have known them for the last twenty-eight years. My in-laws have been respected people and a big part of our family. Johnnie was a wonderful father and husband and will greatly be missed. As Johnnie skips down the streets of gold, he probably is asking people how they feel and looking for his cane to aggravate them with a gestured poke. I smile and we have peace, for he is in a much better place than we. Life is just a vapor, treasure it, make the best of it by giving to others and plan your eternity that is what we live for. My Father-in-law left a note of light in the midst of darkness and he paved a way for all of us to give to others, this is his legacy.