Henry Simon in the 1998 Winter issue of Leadership Magazine told about the home of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. It is open to the public and is found in Dayton, Ohio, where his father fled after escaping a life of slavery in the South.  Because Dunbar was African-American, some newspapers were closed to him.  He would send them poetry saying he didn't know who wrote it, but asked the paper to print it in the event some reader could identify the author.  After it was printed, he would write to acknowledge that he was the poet.  

   When Paul Laurence Dunbar died in 1906, his mother left the room exactly as it was on the day of his death. His final poem was on his desk, handwritten on a notepad.  After his mother's death, friends discovered that Dunbar's last poem had disappeared.  His mother had made his room a shrine, not moving anything, and over time the sun had bleached the ink on the page until it was invisible.  The poem was lost forever.  

   This story illustrates that if we get frozen or bogged down in our grief, we may lose a lot of life that is important.  I believe that the apostle Paul realized this truth when he encouraged the Thessalonians with this piece of advice.  He said, "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 4:13f.  

   Paul reminded them that there is hope beyond our loss, allowing us to live life to the fullest.  Let's not miss out on the important part of life and lose not only our future, but the beautiful contributions of those we love and mourn.


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