John Tennity

“Life is over so quickly. It is possible to reach the end with no regrets. It takes some bravery to live it right, to honour the life you are here to live but the choice is yours. … Appreciate the time you have left by valuing all of the gifts in your life and that includes especially, your own, amazing self.”

Bronnie Ware, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

I just finished reading this book before the end of 2018.  I figured it would be good food for thought as I transitioned from the passing year into the new one.  It was a great read, one which gave me so much to reflect upon and to see how I can live these pearls of wisdom from the dying.

Little did I know that a young life would be extinguished shortly after I read this book.  I found out Monday (New Year’s Eve) that John Tennity, a 24 year old from Canandaigua, died suddenly.  I have known John for probably close to 14 years. I met John and his parents, Deana and Pat, while I was at St.Mary’s Church in Canandaigua.  Pat was quite ill with cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, and a heart condition. He was someone that I journeyed with through his illnesses, to his death in 2006 at the age of 42.  He and I formed a bond, a friendship that was rooted in a mutual faith. Pat and I had many moments of deep conversation, especially as he continued to move through all that plagued him.

Deana was a strong woman through all of it.   She was there for Pat and she was most certainly there for her children.  Pat’s death was a very sad and difficult death, especially with three young children at home.  But, his children have grown into amazing young men and woman!

John was their oldest child.  He had graduated college and was working in Florida, where his mother longs to move back to!  She’s a native Floridian and is not happy with the cold and snowy winters! John was in the proverbial “prime of his life.”  His death makes no sense. I cannot imagine what Deana is going through. This has to be devastating to her.

And yet, his death draws me back to the book I read and how precious this life that we are given really is.  Nothing is guaranteed, my friends. 5 minutes from now is not guaranteed. We only have right here and right now.  We have all that comes with this moment - our family, our friends, our spouses/partners, our work, our contribution to this world, our struggles and challenges, and our very life!  These are the most precious gifts that we have in this moment, and John’s death reminds me that I am called to full awareness of these gifts, because I don’t know when my life will end.  And, I don’t want to get to the end of my life, and have regrets, like so many of the dying can have.

God has been generous with giving us this one life, each of us.  Let’s take full advantage of all that life offers us, and be the people we are called to be!

Of the many pictures I saw of John on social media, I saw a man who lived life with great passion and energy!  He lived where he wanted to live, and he worked in a vocation that used his gifts and talents. That is what we are supposed to do.  He belonged to a family that loved him and showed him that love. He belonged. He mattered. He achieved. He loved. He lived!

My hope and prayer is that when he crossed over, his father, Pat was right there to give him the biggest kiss and hug.  Pat and John are reminders to me of how life can be over in an instant, for anyone of us. But they are also a reminder to me of how important life is to be lived to the fullest, with great energy, passion, and love.  In the end, it really is all about love.

May you be enjoying eternal happiness with your dad, John.  My love to you both.

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