into eternity as a doddery 88 year old) but I’m happy to trust God. I believe in
the goodness of God (I think of the word ‘goodness’ as the secular term for
‘Godness’) so I’m happy to leave it to him. If there is nothing but eternal
sleep; so be it. I’ve had a most fortunate life. I’m happy with whatever God
has in store for me.
I have always loved the benediction that Rev Paul Swadling, one of our former
ministers at St Margaret’s Uniting Church at Hackett, used at the conclusion
of every service. I think it is particularly appropriate for a funeral service:
“As the earth keeps turning, hurtling through space
Night falls and day breaks from land to land.
Let us be aware of people, waking, sleeping, being born and dying.
One world; one humanity,
So let us go from here in peace
And may the peace of God go with us.”
On a personal note I feel blessed to have had such a long, enjoyable and fulfilling
life; fortunate to have been born in a wealthy and progressive country
like Australia, and at this time in history; to have been born into a family with
wonderful parents and siblings and a close extended family of uncles, aunts
and cousins; to have had so many years with my loving and loyal wife; to
have seen our 4 children grow into fine, mature adults; to see our 11 grandchildren
grow and start careers and families of their own; and to witness the
arrival of wonderful great grandchildren; one cannot help but feel truly
blessed. I have never been homeless, hungry or unemployed. I have never
been called upon to go to war; I have not accumulated a fortune but neither
have I been bankrupt. I have enjoyed my various occupations as a teacher,
public servant and tour guide. The most satisfying time of life was probably in
our retirement years when Marge and I were free enough, financially secure
enough and healthy enough, to not only enjoy more family time and some
happy holidays and tours, but also to focus more on contributing, in our own
small way, to church and community activities, especially in the disability sector.
I truly believe that giving is the most rewarding part of living.
Finally, one very important point. Recognising our mortality is no reason to be
miserable or pessimistic during our life. It is all the more reason to embrace
life. It would make no sense to go on a holiday and spend the whole time being
miserable because you knew it would end after 2 weeks. I think we should
approach life in the same positive way: Live it as best we can; have a purpose;
seek fulfillment; respect and help others; enjoy it and be grateful.
There is an old aboriginal proverb which says: “We are all visitors to this time,
this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to
learn, to grow, to love … and then we return home.”
- Jeff Bishop, 2019
Jeff wrote this article mainly for his kids and grandkids. He found the act of
writing it was therapeutic. I appreciate his willingness for it to be reproduced
here. Jeff has also suggested that perhaps our seniors could be encouraged
to record (and perhaps share) thoughts, opinions, memories. Any takers?
St Margaret’s News 11 August 2020