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Reflecting on a life


Today we're celebrating, remembering, and reflecting on the life of Brian Eliot Holmes, our son. Brian was born on Deember 17, 1977. He was murdered on July 18, 2011, on America Street, in the eastside of Charleston, SC. At this time his murder is unsolved.

His death has taken us to another place in life, a new level where see and process the moments of life differently than before. Today, we are thankful for his life and the many ways he touched us during his thrity four years. My prayers today are for the women in his life---Katherine, his precious wife; Harrriet, my wife and his mom; and, Liz, his big sister. He loved each of them in a special way.

Death is a relentless teacher. For us humans it is an unavoidable classroom as well. But, what we learn here is more about how we live this life than how we depart from it. When death is teaching us the lessons are impactful, ultimate. Each is a tutorial crafted from one life to another, a gift that can alter our direction and change our perception of things.

Today, we we remember the special moments of his life as we also continue to absorb the painful but important lessons his death is teaching us. What are they?

One. life is brief. In Scripture, the metaphors of shortness characterize life. It is a breath, morning dew, a vapor, a shadow, grass, a mist. We are sojourners here, transients, aliens, visitors. We're told to number our days so that our minds can attain wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Yet we live the procrastinators dream at the speed of thought. That's why the death of a young person registers with us so profoundly. Life is short.

Two. Values are important. For us Brian's death has been a lens through which our values are now filtered. His death has helped us weigh important things and unimportant things, how to view what really matters and what doesn't. Over the three years since his death we've learned to discern the difference between urgent and important. Much of life is determined by the clock, the calculator, and the calendar. We're learning to listen to the heart and let our biblical value system guide us in all things.

Three. Faith is real. I remember reading a Twitter post by Ken Whitten, a pastor in Florida on the day after Brian's death. It was a "grace ambulance" that shifted us toward Him in those hours right after learning the horrible news of his death. He wrote, something like this, "in tragedy we usually ask, How do I get out of this? We should ask, what do I get out of this?". They were certainly painful days. But, in them, asking the right questions, we knew He was there, and He would guide us through this tragic time. And, three years later, He has, and is.

Certain things about those days stand out. I remember sitting with the family at Dyal Funeral Home in Summerville, as Don Miller gently led us through the planning for Brian's service. My iPhone was on the table, set to vibrate, and it did. Brian and I had been playing a Words with Friends game at the time of hie death. The game was sending me a push message. On my screen it read, "Brian Won!!!". Did he ever.

So, his mother and I are remembering and reflecting on a life. There are many lessons from the last three years and I'll wrote a book about it one day. Now, however, we're thankful for that life and the great privilege of sharing it, and remembering in prayer those who shared it too.


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