Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remembering Jake- Ron Zluticky & Enzo Gentile(Age 9)


Jeremiah 29: 11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I recently read an article about people’s lifelong dreams and goals in life.  In that article was a short story about Robert Woodruff.  Most people have never heard of him, yet his goal in life probably touched them.  As President of the Coca-Cola company, he wanted to say that in his lifetime everyone in the world had tasted a Coca-Cola.   The article discussed goals and dreams of several kinds—short & long term goals; big & small dreams; those realized & not realized. 
Last week I sat among hundreds of mourners, attending the funeral of a family friend who’d lost a long, valiant fight against cancer.  After hearing of his death, one of my first thoughts was how sad it was that he had died, therefore losing out on the chance to see many of his life’s dreams come true.  I wondered how many of his goals in life he had been able to accomplish.  That was only one reason that I thought his death was tragically premature.  Knowing that 1200 people had attended the previous night’s visitation and then seeing the hundreds at the funeral, I believed that many others viewed his death the same way.
Then I heard stories of how the man had touched the lives of people everywhere; how he let no obstacle get in the way of his making new friends for life (he once disappeared for over three hours and his family began to worry…until they found out that he had crashed a family’s reunion and made such a connection with them that every day afterward, they came to see him---their new family member!); how at each of the hospitals where he’d been treated he had always made it a point to thank the nurses and staff members for each little thing they did for him; how he went around the hospital to visit other patients (especially children), using his humor to cheer them up, helping to ease their times of suffering. 
We were told at the funeral of how beating cancer was his number one goal and how his determination to do so inspired the families of other patients; how no matter how many times the cancer came back, and no matter how the side effects of the treatments affected him, he never lost his positive attitude; how no matter what he was going through, his primary concern was for how his parents and his sister were doing—he didn’t want them to be feeling bad about what was happening to him.  All of these were intentional efforts…they were his goals.
Hearing all of this was not surprising to me, but it did make me realize that Jake’s life was really amazing.  He accomplished more things and impacted the lives of more people than most…even though he died at age 22.  I was wrong; his was not a life cut tragically short with unfulfilled dreams, but rather a life that was short in years, but long on accomplishment, especially in what matters most: making the world a better place for those he came in contact with.  He certainly left this world having accomplished something…he showed me how the Lord wanted us to spend our days here on Earth.  He was an example of God having a plan…using Jake to give the rest of us hope for the future. 
                                                                                                                                                              -Ron Zluticky

 I love you and miss you. I still look at the website you gave me "The many Roars of T Rex!" It is on my desktop still.  I wish you were here to play my new Troy game for the PlayStation 3.  You are still in our prayers, especially your family.  Whenever I watch the Avatar movie I think of us laying in my room watching it togther.  You are so much fun... wish you were here to go back to the beach.  I know you are in heaven watching over all of us.  I still call you Jakey Boy!
                                                                                                                                                         Love, Enzo

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