"I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work on earth during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward." (Ecclesiastes 5:18, NET)

September 15, 2013

Happy trails, cousin

The focus of this blog is the simple pleasures of life, but I'm taking a detour today. Just yesterday, I found out that my cousin Rodney Box was at death's door—then early this morning, he stepped through it.

This isn't a sad post, though. Rodney didn't go alone, and glory was on the other side. He was a true believer, a man who lived his faith in Christ. Anyone who knew Rodney and knows the Word of God doesn't have to wonder or hope. We know where he is. And we rejoice.

I was blessed to grow up in a big family where our cousins were our best friends. In addition to family get-togethers, we'd have sleepovers and go to each other's birthday parties. It wasn't unusual for every party guest to be a cousin.

Rodney remained my friend throughout high school. We were in the same homeroom the whole time and had to sit in alphabetical order, so he always sat right behind me. And he always had my back. For instance, when some boys made a snide comment about me, I acted like it didn't bother me and just blew it off. Not Rodney. He wouldn't allow it and put them in their place. I wish I had told him how much that meant to me and also just that I enjoyed seeing him every morning at the start of the school day.

Family was important to Rodney. He and his wife, Janet, were the ones who faithfully scheduled the annual family reunion every October. Unfortunately, the attendance steadily declined each year, and last year, there were only a small handful of us. Regardless, Rodney kept having them.

I chose not to go one year, and he let me know the next time I saw him that I had made the wrong choice, that my priorities were misplaced. The Box gene made a lot of us outspoken, some downright hot-headed, but Rodney had a calm, matter-of-fact way of speaking the truth. I didn't protest. He was right to call me on my BS excuse.
Cowboy Rodney between cousins Randy and Dale

I'm so very glad that I went to the reunion last year and hugged my cousin's neck, talked to him, had a piece of his birthday cake. Who knew that would be the last time I would see Rodney—on this side of heaven anyway.

The only reunions we'll probably have now will be at memorial services of family members. Surely, at Rodney's service in a few days, he'll get the turnout he deserves.

He was always a cowboy at heart. So happy trails, Rodney Box, until we meet again.

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