Every Breath a Gift: a Memoir – Postlude

Larry Pearce

The author c. 1949

Chapter 7 – Postlude

My friend and fellow Christian, with whom I traveled to Haiti in 1978, Joe Kaufman, sent me the following excerpt from Ralph W. Sockman’s book The Higher Happiness earlier this year. These words perfectly capture what became my philosophy of life after my spiritual rebirth at age 15. Although I celebrated life in this world through marriage, fatherhood, friendships, music, sports and other experiences in the years that followed, I have know that there was more, what Sockman calls “The Higher Happiness.” Read and listen to what he says:

Shortly before his death, the late Edward Madison Cameron in whimsical but delightful fashion delivered a little lecture to his aging body, from which he was about to part:
“When you go no further, I shall leave you and be free. ….When we separate I shall continue to exist….A power greater than you and I started us on our journey. Your journey is approaching its end and you are aware of it. My journey has merely begun, and I know it because I have never been more alive. Our separation is therefore not one of sadness but of joy. You are weary and want to stop. I am longing to alight from this slowing vehicle and go on without you. The man who can write thus about death manifests that he has found a peace that comes from adjustment to God rather than to the world. The popular conception of peace of mind is all too much a matter of smooth alignment with things that are ‘seen and temporal.’ But the fashion of this world passes away. Lasting personal peace must be sought in adjustment to the things that are unseen and eternal. There is a ‘peace of God which passes all understanding’ of the world, but its secret is comprehended by those who have been initiated into the Kingdom of God and have remained in the fraternity of the faithful. Theirs is the higher happiness.”

As I type this conclusion to my Memoir, I don’t know how my life on this planet will end. I only know that I am ready to pass on to my next chapter – eternity with my Savior and God. Though the horrible war in Ukraine, the frustrating hacking of my computer accounts, and other miseries have taken a toll on my faith in humankind and my personal sanity, I have to think, “These too shall pass.” Who said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? How true. If Vladimir Putin represents the worst of living creatures for his tortuous war crimes, then surely the people offering help to the Ukrainians represent the best. If some uncaring cadre of dishonorable folks tricked me into giving them a password that affected most of my personal resources, then I came to realize how my friends and relatives from around the world came quickly with their care and concerns. How else would good outweigh evil? This too shall pass, and brighter days are ahead, both in this world and the next.

This is my vision of Heaven: brightly lit from natural sources with long, welcoming hallways having doors on either side, not unlike Laurel View Village, about which I’ve written, where Susan and I hope to move eventually, and from where her dad, uncle, and many old friends have passed. From the warm and friendly welcoming center where God sits smiling, Jesus is reaching out on one side and the Holy Spirit making you young again from the other. The hallways stretch into others as far as the eye can see. On the doors are family trees, maps of where you can go and what you can expect: Pearce, Miller, Gray, Krause and so on. When I knock on a door, it opens to a mini-landscape of the world known to the people inside: the buildings, the technologies, the culture of their day. As the 18th century hymn writer Isaac Watts paraphrased the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord’s my Shepherd,” I am “no more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.” I have my own room with the people I have lived with and love. Oh, there might be some separation now,  but as the book of Corinthians says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13: 12)

This is not “The End” or “Goodbye,” but as our friends at Wycliffe Bible Translators taught us to say, “Til we Meet Again.”

Medical Addendum: Cancer at Conemaugh

Return to: Introduction & Table of Contents

The author in Graduate attire, 2000

Last revised 2/29/24


Note: After six months in the making and having collected wonderful thoughts and ideas from my immediate family over that time, my Memoir now goes into a period of additions, revisions, and editing. This will include the creation of albums of photos, short videos, and artifacts for the chapters. The revised version will be available to family and the public at E-gen.info before the end of this year. As we say on our homepage, the site will always be  “Under construction” and “Comments and suggestions are welcome.”
Sincerely, Larry Pearce