Life, death and heaven: A lesson from Buzz

Wood, hay and stubble . . . what do they have in common? They make a good bonfire.

So what is enduring?

In a short period of time two of this community's -- no, let me enlarge the territory -- this world's finest people have moved their residency from this side of glory to the other.

One, Buzz Stokes lived a full life of 87 years. The problem was simply, who knew he was 87 years old? For me he was timeless. Who do you know works until he is 86 years old at the same place? He was the Cal Ripken of doing his life without a pause. He was a pure example of working circles around most of us.

Real leadership

Buzz could have taught the younger generations a great deal. He could have led classes on having integrity, about pursuing knowledge and about applying wisdom. Add to those classes, the invaluable courses he, himself, majored in daily. Those are the ones about loving family and others and most of all, the one about loving God.

Wait a minute, Buzz did teach. He taught family, his neighbors, and he sure did teach me the fine art of loving God and others by just living. Buzz-Saw, you are surely missed.

You can't burn up the legacy he leaves, legacy consisting of family and others he mentored. He was such a wise Sunday school teacher and the gain we have from spending time in conversation and prayer with him is something I will always cherish.

I'm still numb with grief over the tragedy of saying goodbye to one much too young to have left so suddenly. Rhonda, "Ronnie" Compton was also one-of-a-kind. I have heard so often these words, "She was like a mother to me." Nothing better than that, y'all.

She lived life fully. Always, involved. Always, caring. Always, fun. She loved her husband and family. She was a wonderful woman with a smile and a sparkle for most everyone. She taught others how to do "everyday" with pizzazz.

Inner light shining out

You can't burn up a smile or consistent understanding of relishing life and family. Those who knew her well were richer for the knowing. Even those like me who were just old family friends from way back felt like we were of value when we would cross paths. She made you feel special because she was special.

There is a scripture, which applies to these two so well. "Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward." I Cor. 3: 12-14

Their lives were a "that'll preach." Heaven is sweeter still. So, what is enduring? A life founded on faith, a life well-lived and an eternity to come. Our reward this side of heaven is simply having known you.

Kandi Farris, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.