Story-lines: Life, Death, and the In-between

This week I’m sharing a “throw-back” post that I previously shared on the “A Thriving Mindset” blog. I wrote it after attending my Uncle Moe’s memorial service in October 2016. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m a sucker for a good story-line. I’m the kind of guy that fully invests himself in a story. By the end of a book (or movie), I feel like I know the characters personally. I have celebrated victories with them, struggled with them, held hope for them, and “by golly”, they have become part of my life. I know that I am not alone in this. I see it all the time when people line up to see the latest Star Wars, Avengers, or Jason Bourne movie. ……Not to mention what we saw a few years back with the Twilight series. Unfortunately, every good story has an ending. To add to that, not every story ends that we want it to. Nevertheless, the story is not complete until it is finished.

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my uncle’s funeral services. It was such a bittersweet moment. In the forefront was the reality that we were all saddened by the departure of such a great man. On the other hand, there was such celebration of life. Friends and family members stood to share a story-line of a 93 year span of love, laughter, and triumph. I learned that, as a young man, Ronald Reagan’s mother visited my uncle while he was in a hospital being treated for tuberculosis. She found out that he only had a 3rd grade education, so she encouraged him to go back to school. Although his primary language was Spanish, he was inspired by this encounter. He went on to earn his G.E.D. and a degree in engineering through correspondence school. Another story was told about a time when he, his siblings, and his dad were traveling by mule and wagon to the nearest city. During their travels a man with a Model-T Ford crashed into their mule and killed it with the impact. When asked how they got to their destination without that mule, my uncle would reply, “Easy, we had a spare mule.” (a second mule was tied to the back of the wagon). However, the most touching stories told were from family members who told about my uncle’s impact on their life. There was a brother who lived with him and my aunt during his last year of high school. There was a great-niece that remembered how he taught her how to do math. There was a neighbor that shared how he walked his lawn mower several houses down to help their family when her husband took ill. Hearing this, we as a family, laughed and cried together. There was so much beauty and so much pain being experienced all at once. However, as expected, every great story line eventually comes to end. There we were as a family, gathered with his precious sons and grand-children, turning the last page of his book. Although his story is now complete, the imprint of his story is imprinted on our hearts forever.

As I left the funeral this thought came to me, “As much as we as humans love story-lines, the reality is that we actively participate in one every moment of our lives.” Our story-lines give us the privilege to encounter people, places, victories, and challenges in the same manner that characters in good books and movies do. The difference is that we get to actively participate in the lives of the lives of the characters that we encounter in this lifetime. Unlike books and movies, we can tangibly see, touch, and interact with the characters around us. We have the privilege and ability to impact the story that we experience. However, as hard as we may try to fight it, that story someday will end…… Knowing this, makes me want to life differently. It makes me want to say the words “I love you” more often. It makes me want to spend more time with my friends and family. It makes me want to appreciate people more than material possessions. It makes me want to live this life well.

In conclusion, I’d like to say, “Thank you Uncle Moe!” You may no longer be with us in person, but you sure are making me think. I’m headed back home inspired by the legacy you left behind. Thank you for everything.


John Eli Garay

Life is short I want to live it well

One life, one story to tell

Life is short I want to live it well

And you’re the one I’m living for

Awaken, oh my soul!

Every breath that you take is a miracle

Life is short I want to live it well- Live it well, Switchfoot

John Eli is a transformational life coach who has spent over 15 years mentoring individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. His resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher-education advising. From an early age, John recognized that God created him to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. He is currently walking out his purpose by helping others confront, and work through, any negative self-talk that keeps them from living life to the fullest. His ministry includes blogging, speaking, and personal development coaching. He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”

To schedule a coaching session with John Eli click here.

Published by John Eli

I am a self-awareness coach (coach for humans), life strategist, blogger and speaker. I’ve spent over 21 years mentoring individuals in life skills, career transitions, relationships, and life recovery. My resume includes pastoral care, behavioral health, and higher education. From an early age, I realized that God created me to bring hope, healing and encouragement to others. I am currently living out my purpose by creating a space where people can rediscover and become all that they were created to be. I currently live in the beautiful state of Arizona with my wife, two dogs, and an antique piano whom I call, “Betty.”

6 thoughts on “Story-lines: Life, Death, and the In-between

  1. What a great story! It is encouraging to read about someone who “finished well,” as so many do not. I have been reading about the kings of the divided kingdom of Israel/Judah (I and II Kings) and how most of them were evil, and even those who started out good became evil and/or made foolish decisions later in their lives. Now that I’m 65, one of my most passionate prayers is that I would finish well. Your uncle has demonstrated that with God’s help, it can be done. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by. And yikes… the stories found in I and II Kings are sometimes hard to swallow. I usually get frustrated with the choices that were made by the kings of that time. However, I usually am confronted how I have a tendency to veer from the path that God has set for me…. yet in his grace He is patient with me. It’s His kindness that leads me to repentance…. and for that I’m grateful.


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