James Bailey Bodrey
April 1, 1994 – October 20, 2012
I found out about James’ accident this morning as I was getting ready for a meeting. I was shocked by the news that his accident required him being taken to Macon. In the span of a couple of hours the news was not getting better. The sinking feeling in my stomach increased as word began to spread. By mid-afternoon, the worst outcome from this entire ordeal was realized. James had died, and part of all of the hearts of those of us who cared for him felt as if it had died too.
There are so many emotions that come over you when someone you know dies. But, those emotions are intensified and are even worse when that person is younger than you are. My first reaction to the news was anger. I was angry that another young man had died before the prime of his life. I was angry because it just did not seem fair that James died. I was angry at all the crazy things that would be said in an attempt to make the family “feel better.” There is no feeling better about this. This event, these moments are horrible and none of us wants to even think about them for another second!
But, as the day went on I became angry at myself. I realized that I made the mistake (once again) that I promised I would never make. I was angry because of all those moments and days that I had taken for granted. Life is far too short to allow ourselves to drift through it. I was upset about all of this, but then something else struck me. What struck me was all the young men and women at James’ alma mater, Crisp Academy, who knew and loved him. I thought of them and to them I direct these next words.
Dear Crisp Academy Student,
I do not pretend to know how you are feeling. For many of you, the shock of this will take some time to think through. My prayer is that as you think about James and his life, that you would also take a look at your own life. And think about never taking any day for granted again.
How do you take a day for granted? When you complain about what you would rather be doing, instead of enjoying what you are doing (even when it’s homework or sitting in a classroom). When you are wondering about what somebody else said and then waste all that time worrying and plotting. You will never get that time back, and it was spent on something that will not make your life better. When you are so preoccupied with what is coming next in life that you will completely miss what is happening now. These are all ways that we take the gift of each day for granted.
Every time someone younger than me dies I am reminded that life is a precious gift. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Every morning is an opportunity to give thanks to God for opening our eyes. I want to remind you, in spite of your young age, to remember that each minute of life is given to us to enjoy. Don’t waste another day doing anything that you will regret.
My memories of James come from going to Crisp Academy every Wednesday and seeing him walk into the lunchroom with that goofy grin on his face and those bigger than life ears sticking out from the side of his head. I can hear him cutting up and talking trash about some rival team or the “other school in the county.” I remember him enjoying being who he was. He didn’t really try to pretend to be someone else. That is what I will remember.
Take care of yourself, strive to truly live everyday, enjoy every moment and may God bless you.
Cordele First UMC