Lord, it seems just like yesterday...
So when I found myself talking with my friend Russ a few nights ago, needless to say, we had a lot of catching up to do.
We threw out old college stories like friends tossing a baseball back and forth to each other. "Do you remember this..." , "Do you still that...", "I can't believe..." and on and on.
As our conversation came to a close, Russ said something that made time stop for me, he began by saying, "I'll end with this story..."
-Then he told me the following:
Around the turn of the 20th century, a group of missionaries became known as ‘one-way’ missionaries. When they departed for the mission field they packed all of their belongings into a coffin and bought one-way tickets because they knew they’d never return home. A.W. Milne was one of them. He felt called to a tribe of headhunters in the New Hebrides. All the other missionaries to this tribe had been martyred, but Milne found favor. He lived among the tribe for 35 years and never returned home.
When tribe buried him, they wrote the following words on his tombstone,
“When he came there was no light.
When he left there was no darkness.”
I know why Russ ended with this story. Because it is a story that every person needs to heed. It needs to sit within them and stir them. The story has to be told to people so that they can pause, perhaps for hours or even days and consider their lives. The wise author of Ecclesiastes said, Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun. It is vitally important for you and I to live with the perspective that A.W. Milne lived with. Because when we do, people will pass on our legacy like they did his.
When I was in college, a group of my very closest friends all signed a poster I had up on my wall. It was a poster that had a picture of a "No U-Turn" allowed sign on it.
Russ was one of the guys that signed it. 10 years later, there still are No U-Turns allowed. Not for Russ. Not for me...