Although I am not Catholic and don't completely understand the role of the Pope, I cannot help but be a little sad as the life of Pope John Paul II seems to be ending. He has been such a strong world figure most of my life.
I remember vividly for some reason, being told of the new Pope at a football game in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I was probably in 8th grade. (Go ahead and figure out how old I am.)
It is hard to see strong people become frail. This seems to be a theme in my life lately. My great-Aunt Lillian died earlier this week in California. She was one of my grandmother's sisters. She was a tall, strong woman. Not well-educated I suppose, but intelligent nevertheless. She had dementia. I am not sure what exactly she died of, but it was hard to think of her not mentally "together." I think I am glad I did not have to see her like that. Her sister, my great-Aunt Mildred is also failing. She was the youngest of the three sisters and was always the sweet one. I am afraid she will not be around much longer either. Another couple of women I know who I think of as strong, are now getting frail. It is just hard to imagine.
I think the message of John Paul II might be to do as much as you can while you can. Do your best and give all you've got. And on that note, I have to go spend some time with my boys.