Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Jim; he is tattooed onto my soul with indelible ink. I remember things about him that I admired, his wisdom and thoughtfulness, his quick wit, the soft kiss at the start and end of each day. He never left the house without a magic trick in his pocket or without a tune in his head. He was my person! I miss him but not with sadness since most of my memories of him are joyful. Today I celebrate the man who used magic, puppetry, jokes and silliness, music and more to be a winsome reflection of the God He loved.
It is hard to imagine that He would be so “old” (66). It is a weird thing that we do in our mind when we remember things and people in the context of history. There is a phenomenon that I have experienced throughout my life. I am sure there is a name for it but I don’t know what it is and I’ve asked a smattering of smart people without success. I guess I should make a Wikipedia page for it and dub it “Stop- Motion” memories. This how it works – I have a mental picture in my head of a person or place at a certain point in time. It is like a snap shot and that person is always that age in my mind. We all do it and when we see a person after a long time, a kid all grown up or a friend with gray hair, we have to make adjustments. Even when I think of the future I picture the person or place like I last saw it. When I think of heaven I imagine Jim at 54 and the Degrafft’s in their 90’s but I am quite sure that my picture is very inaccurate. Of course it is.
It is similar to birthdays, trips and other future plans. Nothing is as it is imagined. Nothing turns out how you expect, in spite of the best laid plans. Did you go to the downside of that?! Did you think how plans go sideways more often than not? Most of us do that. But, here’s the real deal: that is not how it works! Sometimes, our imaginations and dreams are not big enough. Sometimes things work out better than one had expected. Some things are just more out-of-the-box than we can ever imagine. God has a wild imagination. Jim knew this well and that life is a privilege, not a guarantee, so he lived with intentionality and hope. More than that he looked for the blessing and the best in every situation and person, especially the difficult ones. So I am wondering how amazing the future will be and in the meantime I am remembering Jim with stop-motion memories and living this crazy, wonderful, messy life with hope. Happy Birthday in heaven to the man, the myth, the legend: James William Mohler.