I have been reminded this past week that while life can be so short and unpredictable, it can also be amazingly enriching. PLW was saddened by the loss of a man who was an inspiration to him, and who possessed a talent that came straight from God. Western artist, Bill Owen, died unexpectedly on a historic Arizona ranch. I suspect that it was the perfect way for him to exit this world ... among the cowboy subjects that he painted with such respect and honor.
|Cowboss Scattering The Hands by Bill Owen|
When I think of the private collections ... precious art, Indian artifacts, and historical relics that will be lost .... well, it makes me heartsick. But like so many times in the past, when hardship comes calling, the people of our American West don't waste time on tears and whining. And they never look back. They just pick up the pieces and stoically start anew. They are made of strong pioneer stock; their ancestors crossed the Southern plains and steep mountain ranges to settle in some of the most majestic valleys on God's green earth. Their values aren't centered around their "stuff"; they're survivors and they'll handle whatever life or the elements throws at them. I'm proud to know them and call them friends.
So this past week, I've seen a lot of loss. But I've also been reminded of what is unique and special and distinctive about this wonderful country that I call my own. I count my blessings and thank God that I have been given the opportunity to know such humble and talented men; whether through personal contact or simply through their words. Heaven has called both a painter and a writer home. I can only imagine that the Creator is well-pleased with how Bill and Vince used the creative talents He gave them. And I am thankful that God has taken PLW and myself down a path that introduced us to the remarkable people of Prescott, Arizona. They inspire me while they continue to embody the American spirit.
Yes, loss is a part of this life. But with that emptiness comes the understanding that I have been given the opportunity to witness and savor the presence of extraordinary people. Far from being sad, I will add their stories to my memory vault and put a checkmark in the plus column of my life experiences.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."