Monday, March 18, 2013

The legacy of a good life

What constitutes a good life? We can not all be Richard Branson or Nelson Mandela but we can all do our level best in the circumstances we find ourselves. And very few manage that, in my opinion.

Picture a small church in a somewhat rundown suburb of Harare on a hot Friday morning. It is a catholic church but with few decorations, a very far cry from the surroundings where a new Pope was announced some days ago. The benches are worn from every day use and age and could do with some maintenance.

The church is packed to capacity on this morning as we hold the funeral ceremony for André Adolfo, 86 years old at the time of his death. Father of 14, grandfather of over 60 and greatgrandfather of more than 20 and several in the making. A humble man, a carpenter, a devoted Christian, an honoured and respected member of the Sunningdale community.

To me, a dear friend. To my wife and children that he wholeheartedly accepted as if they were his own he was simply "Papa". As he was known to many many more than the actual members of his large family.

It is not often you see the priest cry, I can not remember ever having seen it before actually. But tears rolled down the face of the old priest as he and others praised the life of André. When his youngest son spoke about how he had communicated to them all not to grief as he was not only ready to go but perfectly at peace is when I started this train of thoughts in my head.

What greater gift is there than to die at peace with yourself, surrounded by children and grandchildren and simply out of old age?

Life will continue without him but he will be sorely missed.
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