4 01 2014

I know it is a cliché as old as time, but the older I get, the faster the days seem to be flying by. And I am faced with the sobering thought that I have more of my days behind me now than left before me as I press on sojourning this side of Heaven. When we were young, we seemed immortal and invincible and the sky was the limit and we couldn’t even relate to the calendar not being anything but our ally because we thought getting old was turning 30! Then in just a moment, 30 is now a distant sight in the rear view mirror of life and 60 is closer than it has ever been before. And forgive me as I break out in a song from Fiddler on the Roof. “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, swiftly flies the years. One season following another; laden with happiness and tears.”

Now, the last thing I want to be is depressed on New Year’s Day. I don’t want my tone to be morose or negative. I have been blessed up to this point with what I would refer to as my own version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I have been married to the same woman for going on 32 years. Our union has survived and grown stronger though two miscarriages, the death of two of our sons, Nicholas and Benjamin, that were born only to die shortly after birth, and the premature birth and death of our last child who entered and departed our world the same day our oldest son Rudy graduated from Middle Township High School. We have been given the gift to raise four of our children beginning with our oldest son Rudy III who is married to Lindsey and their two sons Jude and Gideon. Next in age is our daughter Leah, who teaches the 1st Grade in Santiago of the Dominican Republic. Then there is Abbie who herself is a cancer survivor and shares her love for the Lord by leading others in worship wherever she goes. Last but far from least is our 10-year-old son Joel who is a miracle himself. He is living proof that we must never prematurely take life into our own hands. Our doctors counseled us to abort that precious boy and still against all odds and with a ton of prayer, he made it! I couldn’t imagine what life would be without him. I’m glad that I don’t have to.

I have been blessed to get to do something for a living that I love and really don’t consider my job as much as I call it my life. Through the years of being a Pastor, God has honored me with the gift of knowing and loving so many precious people that I have impacted their lives and in turn they have deeply touched mine in the process. If you ever visit my office at The Lighthouse Church, my walls are chock filled with the faces from all the wonderful places that make up all those treasured memories along the way. No, Terri and I have never been well to do in the areas of monetary gain, but in all the lovely intangibles that truly matter most – like George Bailey of Bedford Falls fame I consider myself the richest man in town.

God has allowed so many dreams of mine to come true through the years. For example, from the time I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a Radio Disc Jockey like my heroes on Music Radio 77WABC. When I was a kid I would pretend for hours that I had my own show and in my room would play records for hours and chat with my imaginary audience. Well, that audience became real honest to goodness people when I got to do radio for many years here in Cape May County and I loved every minute of it. I am so thankful to Bob Maschio and Scott Wahl for being instrumental in making this one happen. Music plays constantly in my life and getting to share my passion and many tidbits of trivia with so many devoted and gracious listeners was worth the effort! I got to interview such notable celebrities as Shirley Jones, Connie Francis, Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue, and Northern Exposure’s Janine Turner. I hope to some day get to do radio again in some way, shape or form so say a prayer another door opens up for me soon; perhaps in 2014.

And this leads me to my final thought as we all look ahead. It is fun to reminisce and reflect upon the good old days but we must never do so at the cost of forfeiting our future. What new aspirations do you have for the days to come? What places would you like to visit? What people would you hope to make amends with and reconcile with before it is too late. What activities do you at least want to try? What will you do in 2014 and more importantly, who will you get to do it with? Every day should be unwrapped as the precious gift that it is and not a one should be wasted. Too many wasted days and wasted nights add up to a sum of regret and misery. But attacking each new day with a wing and a prayer asking God to use you to the fullest and allow you to be open to everything that the Lord may be scripting with you in mind.

I asked this question to our Men’s Bible study group recently and I will close with it today. How would life around you have been different if you were never born? Now think through it carefully. This means no spouse and no kids and no family tree and none of your influence to be seen and experienced anywhere along the way. You might not realize how much one life does make a difference until that life is no longer around anymore. Don’t wait until it is too late! Time slows down for nobody. Before you know it, we will be celebrating Christmas again. By next Christmas, my prayer for you is that we will also be celebrating the fruit of what lots of positive and proactive living can bring! Happy New Year and prayers that this will be the best one yet!



One response

4 01 2014
Michael Spear

Thank you Rudy. Count me as one to whom you have had a personal impact on. I am grateful for your gifts and look forward to a new year full of Divine influence and surprises!

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