Sunday, September 15, 2013

Live Like You Were Dying

When I think about the kind of people we have in our small community of St. Johns, it reminds me of a story I once heard about an old farmer who, with shovel in hand, was standing at the edge of the road irrigating his field, when a young man with his family pulled their vehicle over to the side of his field. The farmer walked over to see if they needed any direction or if he could help them in any way. As he approached the open window of the car, the father of the family said hello and then told the farmer they were thinking of moving into this small community and then asked the farmer what the people who lived here were like. With just a moment's thought, the farmer replied, "What kind of people lived in the town you just moved from?"

I have lived here 53 years, and I have seen many good times. But as everyone knows, we are without a doubt going to go through some hard times as well.

I am going to try to explain where I am going with this.

We have Heap reunions, Crosby reunions, and family gatherings where we have our children and grandchildren come. We bless babies and watch over our families.

Then something happens. Someone close to us loses a loved one, a son in his teens or an only child. It is hard to be around your friends when their hearts are broken. You feel like no matter what you say, their spirits can't be lifted. I was in a heartbroken home and watched as friends from all over town came to their home with food and love and concern for the parents who had lost their young child.

We can gain many good experiences when our lives are going well, but on the other hand, when tragedy enters our lives, we can have the opportunity to learn and grow strong if we will rely on our Heavenly Father. We can gain the knowledge that He is with us and will be by our side through our hard times, just as our friends and family are.

All we have to do is ask for His help, and He will give it.

It has boosted my faith to watch my friends and family in hard times and good times here in this small community.

I would like to add one more experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I have a good friend whose name is Lee Jaramillo. Like myself, he has lived in this community all his life. He has served his country in the military. His wife's name was Delores. I didn't know Delores as well as I know Lee until I attended her funeral. Sounds interesting that I could learn something about someone at their funeral, but I did, and it was a very memorable moment for me. She was one of those unfortunate loved ones here in our town who passed away because of cancer. She fought it for some time, but she lived long enough to write her own eulogy.

Hearing it was quite an experience. She stated how much she loved this town and all the people in it and said that no matter who you were, when hard times or something terrible happens, that the town will be there to help and lift each other. She was the type of person that makes this little town what it really is.

Tim McGraw sings that he hopes that we can have the chance to live like we were dying. If we knew today might be our last, we might realize how short life really is and be a better person.

I know that when adversity comes my way, I will be able to rely on my family, my friends, and uppermost, my Heavenly Father.

Jeff Raban
September 15, 2013


  1. Jeff, you made me tear up remembering Delores. What a wonderful lady with such a strong love of our community. When I was in high school, I loved to have her do my hair. Not only was she a great stylist, but she made me feel so important. She always said such nice things about my family. I would leave her shop feeling like I could take on the world. (Or at least high school!)

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  3. I remembered the story about the farmer as I read this. It is all about our perspectives. I had a hard time with St. Johns when I first lived here as an adult. It took me awhile, but I finally realized that what needed to change was me. When my attitude changed, St. Johns became a wonderful place full of amazing people. Nobody changed overnight- just my own heart. I feel just as Delores- we are lucky to live here where we look out for each other and learn from each other.

  4. Delores Was one of those people that could light up a room and she lit up our community! I remember one time she told me that when she passed she wanted it to be a celebration and her family did just that. She was such an awesome example!

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