For weeks I have been consumed with working inside my own little bubble. We moved ten days ago and have yet to effectively fight the chaos. The recycle people dread coming by our house because of the sea of blue bags with cardboard and packing paper. And Jo and I are relearning how to negotiate our various aesthetic sensibilities—what belongs where and why a photo of my rugby days at UNC may not still be relevant.
Then the phone rang yesterday and I heard that Jeff Batkin died.
I loved Jeff and owe so much to him over the past twelve years. He was a confidant, a friend, and an encourager. He’d call me often to tell me that there is no problem a round of golf can’t cure. He was a wise priest and a holy person.
But of course, that’s not true for grief and loss. We live in this illusion that this life will go on forever, but it won’t. Our time on this earth is short, and when I think of that, I wonder why I have wasted so much of it on what cannot matter and what cannot enlarge my soul and my heart--all the time I worried about what I couldn’t control and lately all the time consumed with a fixation on the constant conflict and bewildering events in Washington.
I am grieving Jeff Batkin, but his lost makes me commit to refocus on what matters: the people I love, beauty, the things I can change, and principles worth living for. As William Sloan Coffin, Jr. said, “The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.”
I give thanks for the life of Jeff Batkin and I am committing myself to remember how short our lives and point myself toward truth and love.