October 1, 2016: Graceful
It wasn’t easy for Art. From an early age, he had to fend for himself. Through adolescence, his primary concern was finding food to eat and a place to sleep. He understood that nothing would ever be given to him. That it is up to him not only to survive, but to thrive. His resilience led him to college despite all the odds against him. His ambition rewarded him with a job. His faith kept him optimistic, always believing that there is love around the corner. Art felt blessed to start a family of his own. Just as he felt that his life became whole and secure, a tragic car accident took his wife, son and daughter from him. Soon thereafter, a capricious business partner stole all his wealth. To make matters worse, an uncontrollable fire burned his house down, taking all of the memories he made with his family there with it. No stranger to the vicissitudes of life, Art turned to his faith. But without his family, it was hard to believe that love would be around the corner again. Instead, he directed all his wherewithal to helping others, to mentoring young children who were burdened with the same disadvantages he was burdened with as a young boy. He found a group to volunteer with and looked forward to his first day. The morning of his first day, though, Art did not wake up. He had taken his last breathe soon after he fell asleep the night before, at just 44 years of age.
Hours passed until the other volunteers called Art to check on him, wondering why he did not show up on his first day after expressing such care and concern for the young children that the organization served. With no answer to their calls, one of the volunteers went to the public housing project that Art had been staying in since his house burned down two years ago. The volunteer knocked on Art’s door but there was no answer. The door was unlocked (Art always left his door unlocked, fearful that another fire would follow him to his last refuge) and the volunteer made her way inside the apartment. She called for Art but there was still no response, just the sound of her echo bouncing from the bare walls. Inching towards the bedroom, she found Art. He was lying there in his bed, as graceful as the angel that carried his soul to peace.