Springingtiger's Blog


Life Is Short And Ends In An Instant.

Today in Parliament MPs were paying their respects to Jo Cox MP who was killed last week. This week she would have been forty two years old…just forty two years old, so young, so full of hope for the future and suddenly no more.

As I awoke the next day after Jo Cox’s murder my new copy of the ‘Gigg News’ (my old school magazine)dropped through my letter box. In it, as always were notices of achievements, births and deaths. It included the obituary of my headmaster, the headmaster who saw me through all but my last couple of years in the school, Owen John Tressider Rowe. I can say from personal experience that he was a wonderful and kind man. I was a difficult child, perhaps because of the Aspergers that was not to be diagnosed until several decades later. I was called to his study on a few occasions and I remained in the school until I finished my ‘A’ levels. I may not approve of the Public School system, but were it not for Mr. Rowe and my Housemaster William Brocklebank and their understanding I might have been cast adrift into a state system ill-equipped to handle me. I may not approve of the Public School system, but without it I douby whether I would have completed my secondary education. Mr. Rowe was ninety three when he died, he achieved great things both in Giggleswick School and at Epsom. ninety three is a good age, and his life was filled with accomplishment, yet I was still sad that he had gone although I had not seen him forty five years, some people have that impact on our lives.

Jo Cox was just forty two years old yet she had had time to make a deep impact on the lives of those who had met her. I have been moved to see long serving politicians like Neil Kinnock unable to hide their tears. She had filled her life with accomplishment working for charity and as a political advisor and campaigner before becoming an MP, but I don’t need to tell anyone about her, it’s been in all the newspapers. I am sad when a fulfilled man of ninety three dies, but how much sadder am I when someone so young, with so much still to accomplish dies so tragically.

A friend of mine, the Reverend John Peck who I have not seen in perhaps thirty years and is in his nineties came to my attention this week because his son posted his picture on Facebook on Fathers Day. I benefited greatly from his advice and example as a young man. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from him was that a true Evangelical Christian is as forgiving and as generous as the Christ they profess to follow. I suspect that one of the reasons I left the church was that very few lived up to his example. What I love is the love he still inspires in so many people and that his writings, his cultural activities, and his loving (and deliciously wacky) family and friends ensure that whatever happens his legacy will continue.

It does not require a long life to make an impact or to change the world for the better. Mr. Rowe’s legacy lives on in his buildings and the changes he wrought in education, and in his family and the impression he left on the people who met him. Jo Cox in her ridiculously short life has obviously made an impact on people, she made a difference in the world and like my other examples is well loved. Her life may have been short, but her legacy will not pass away any time soon.

If I have learned anything this week it is that none of us know whether our lives will be long or short. They may be cut short, unexpectedly at any moment and so if we want to get anything accomplished we had better not waste time, but do it now. I don’t know about Jo Cox, but John Peck is and Mr.Rowe was a man of faith. They none of them slept when they should have been attending to their duties and trimming their lamps, so to speak, Should they be called into God’s presence, assuming there is such a thing, I expect they will be met with the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant…” and I suspect that will be reward enough.

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