From Where I Sit: Pondering sweet 16

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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Do you remember 16? For me it was 1975-76. It feels like an entirely different era and surely it was exactly that.

My 16th birthday was on a Sunday. In my diary I wrote about going to church. Mom came and sat with me there. I also completed my fifth time reading through the Old Testament that day. Spoken as a true 16-year-old I wrote, “Time waits for no one.”

At 4 p.m. that day, we had dinner followed by “more cake and ice cream.” It must be true, the diary says so. But, boy, I can’t remember that at all.

The No. 1 song at that time was “Fallin in Love” by Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds. “Jaws” was the top movie and “All in the Family” was the top TV show. Yes, 16 seems like such a long time ago because it was such a long time ago, 37 years for me.

Wouldn’t you love to be able to go back, even for just one day, and see yourself back then? The “Twilight Zone” episode titled “Walking Distance” elaborates on this thought. Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” and Uncle Rico in “Napoleon Dynamite” had the same idea.

Perhaps you saw the news story recently about a young man named Taylor Dorman. He attended a high school down in southern California. It was just another normal day in school for Taylor and millions of other students all across the country. Just another day.

As he and others played a game in PE class that involved hitting a softball, Taylor caught a ball on his chest. That can be a frightening thing, but apparently he was OK as he continued playing for another 20 minutes.

But then he collapsed, was airlifted to a hospital and died. It is a touchingly sad story. Death is an inevitably painful reality that every breathing human faces, but no one ever expects it to arrive like it did for Taylor.

No, we all desire to leave this world peacefully in our sleep after living what we arbitrarily decide is a long and fulfilling life. It often does not turn out that way.

John Cougar sang, “Hold onto 16 as long as you can.” Taylor Dorman got to hold onto 16 for one day. He died on his 16th birthday. Use a few of the breaths God lends you today to pray for the Dorman family.

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