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We don’t have time

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

What is time? It is altogether apparent while beyond our control. We watch it progress on watches and clocks. We watch it pass in events that unfold. We watch time pass us by. Sometimes I wish I could “un-” the notion of sequence. If that superpower were mine perhaps then I could force the opposite of its course. Yet, I have learned through the years that time is not a tool or influence we could wield. It only gives us the impression that we shall manage its progression. We invest money each year on calendars and planners unaware of which of the blocks in the grid may be our last. When illness strikes or an accident leads to a fatal disaster, we are painfully reminded that we don’t have time. Time belongs to our Master.

Wasn’t it Peter in the book of Matthew who had the nerve to tell Jesus, “It’s not your time yet. Lord this shall not be unto thee.” Lately, I find that I am Peter and Peter is me.

In Matthew chapter 16 along verse 21, Jesus sat with his disciples and told them what was to be done. Upon hearing the news that they would lose their hero, Peter was bold and said, “No.” Wishing to undo what was already in the plans, Peter stood by with his face in his hands. He was rebuked just for speaking his truth. I’m sure the other disciples were wishing it too. To hear that your hero has only a few days left, you would also want to turn back the angel of death. Jesus told them his death was the will of God. Peter learned that God’s plans need not his approval or man’s nod. Still I wish we could mute the grief or make it easier to accept.

And so it goes. Without a choice or say so, we experience loss and mourn the homegoing of our heroes. I was merely 11 in 1987 when my first hero went to heaven. My great-grandfather Alfred “Perry” Harris was like no man I knew. Since my parents separated when I was just a toddler, he was the only man I saw as a real father. Papa Perry was such a great man. His eyes were like jewels. His hugs like the best pillows. Lying against his chest watching billows rise from his pipe were the best days of my young life. How I wish we had more memories together. His death was the first I ever learned of colon cancer.

Here I am again with another one of my heroes lost to this disease. There is no ease of mind. It seems there is no cease to the increasing numbers of notable deaths this year. We have lost so much and so many in 2020 that I find it difficult to breathe. This latest news of the beloved actor who played our Black Panther is most difficult to believe.

Everyone keeps saying how Chadwick Boseman’s death was untimely. That word “untimely” bothers me tremendously. Our use of the word “untimely” suggests that we have a say so over the how and now of when events are uncovered or the loss of a loved one discovered. You would think I knew him like a brother as much as this death makes my lips quiver and my eyes water. How dare he not share with us what he was going through. Didn’t he know what damage his absence would do? How will there be a “Black Panther 2”?

Then the spirit of God quieted my foolish judgment. Who am I to question God’s timing or intent? Although it hurt my soul to hear the news, I had to accept. No one knows our final hour or what will be our cause of death. I was left with this thought about untimeliness. Is death ever favorable or prompt? Until Jesus, it was not.

When I read the account of Jesus preparing His disciples for His crucifixion, I do understand Peter’s reaction. Jesus gave them advance notice so that the disciples would understand that God had a plan. No more would death ever be the end game as long as we believe in Jesus ‘ name. The gospel according to the greatest superhero is this: we have the promise of everlasting life in Jesus Christ. Even though the shock of the loss of our on-screen Black Panther hurts us so, I choose to believe that Chadwick Boseman knew what we all should know. Our tenure on earth is not the end of our living. Make the best of it. Our time here is fleeting.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Connect with her via iamquawanna@thebiggerme.net or via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.