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Monday, September 17, 2007

Outgoing with Tall Tales and Loveable Ways - Robbin de la Cruz +2006

Robbin de la Cruz, a homeless and clean cut young man - thirty-something, was known and loved by many in downtown Los Angeles for his outgoing personality, tall tales and lovable ways. As we got to know Robbin, it was discovered that he had an outstanding dedication to grow and better himself in spite of his crosses and struggles. With a little encouragement, he began to work for some local businesses. He was always on time - if not early to get the job done. Tino, an owner of a men's suit and tuxedo shop commented recently, "No one could do the job of promoting the store and getting local businessmen in to shop like Robbin. He is irreplaceable. We miss him." Robbin's life was cut short one year ago at approximately 6:00am in a hit and run accident. The coroner says he died instantly. He laid in the county's morgue for many weeks until a detective located a long lost brother. About two weeks before his death, Robbin's bills were paid up, he was out of debt and on his feet again. He had a good job too. Now, all that was left was his spirituality. Although when we first met he was an atheist, he went to church twice in the two weeks right before his death. Yesterday's Gospel reading was the story of the Prodigal Son. Robbin de la Cruz immediately came to mind. We pray - we remember.



I guess everyone deserves second chance.

Anonymous said...

How true, we've all been there - some more than others.

Raby Savage said...

What's up with that? Mr. Robbin de la Cruz gets his life straight with God and with humankind (pays his debts off, etc.) then dies. It makes me wonder about the saying "the good die young." When I was a kid I kinda didn't want to be too good. I might die young, I kinda thought.
So is he better now than here on earth? Was passing on his reward?
Just wondering. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Help me understand

Anonymous said...

At present I also posted a comment under “Anonymous” Friday, September 21, 2007. As I mentioned there, I am no longer alive, but I have left behind many writings. At some point I will say who I am. But for now, here are my thoughts on Robbin and his abrupt death.
"Death often happens suddenly. A car accident, a plane crash, a fatal fight, war, a flood and so on. When we feel healthy and full of energy, we do not think much about our death. Still, death might come very unexpectedly.
How can we be prepared to die? It is by not having unfinished relational business. The question is - Have I forgiven those who have hurt me and asked forgiveness from those I have hurt? When I feel at peace with all the people who are part of my life, my death might cause grief, but it will not cause guilt or anger.
When we are ready to die at any moment, we are also ready to live at any moment."


Anonymous said...

R.S. Forgive my sort of round about way of answering your questions: One of the more difficult concepts I have in creation is the idea of "Heavenly justice." I, too, struggle with the concept of what seems fair and right from an earthly perspective.

Some that are rich and powerful abuse the poor using the concept of "don't worry, you'll get yours when you die and go to heaven" to keep those with nothing from rising up against them. (of course, rich isn’t necessarily bad, nor is poor necessarily good…)

The same goes for those who die young, or are born with mental or physical illness, or are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

So how does a merciful God allow tragedy to happen in this world, especially to those that don't "deserve" it? There is a book by Harold Kushner called 'Why bad things happen to good people" that you might like. I haven't read it myself but I know it is very popular. It would probably offer a lot of profound insight.

There are two thoughts I have that help me maintain my perspective. One is the idea of a purpose in life, the other is the thought of what eternity really means.

The other bloggers did a good job addressing purpose. I might only add that it takes a great deal of faith to believe in purpose but it is worth it to do everything you can to deepen your faith and strengthen your relationship with God.

Which leads me to eternity. If we believe in God, as he is presented to us in the bible, we believe in miracles, we believe loving each other as we love ourselves and we believe in life after death. However, there is little in the bible to suggest there is any earthly justice. Last weeks gospel, about the prodigal son certainly doesn’t seem fair. One son does every thing the right way, obeys all the rules, stays with dad while the other takes his inheritance and blows it on wine, women and song only to find himself trying to survive on pig slop. When he comes home because he is completely broken, the dad welcomes him with open arms and gives him more than he’s ever given the “good” son. Doesn’t seem fair, but this reveals more about the good son than the bad. The good son was being good for the sake of his own reward and therefore resented those who didn’t work as hard as he did. Our humanness doesn’t want us to work all our lives to do the right things to get into heaven only to see those who have gotten away with everything get in at the last second. I take from this that truly loving others, for the sake of others, means you don’t care when or how someone makes it to heaven, only that everyone does.

Why? Because of the eternal consequences. Compared to our paltry 80 years on Earth, eternity is a really, really, really long time. Nothing that happens to us, no matter how bad or good compares or will have a lasting impact in heaven. If I pinched your arm 35 years ago, would you remember it now? That must be how even the worst tragedy looks like from the time perspective of Heaven.

However, how we react to everything, no matter how bad or good does have a potential lasting impact. The way we react to the good and bad around us are all avenues through which we become aware of God. We come to understand that without the choice between good and evil, how can we really "choose" to be with God. Of all the choices we make, this is really the most important one we make, isn't it?

It isn’t what happened to Mr. de la Cruz that mattered so much. It is because it happened to him that he chose start living his life for others, and in living his life for others he became more open to the possibility of God. Therefore, when his time came, he was in the right place to accept him.

Only through faith can we accept the complexity of God’s plan. Jesus died young, but plenty of good people haven’t. If our only goal is to get into heaven, we live for ourselves and, sometimes, even want to die young in order to be with God sooner. If our goal is to help others get into heaven, we become part of the overall purpose of God’s plan and our own destiny takes care of itself.

So my roundabout answer to your question, “What’s up with that?”: Who knows? There are so many questions that demand answers. Without knowing the fullness of God’s plan, it’s hard to make sense of a world where suffering is inherent and death is the great equalizer. Perhaps we don’t need answers as much as we need to find peace. So for me, it’s not the “when” that’s important, it’s the “how.” And loving and serving others is the most important "how" there is.