Last Tuesday the family and friends of Nathan Forsyth gathered at Faith Christian Church in Dandenong North to celebrate the brief and beautiful life of a very special young man.
We heard many tributes, the sort that one would expect from a longer life. Tales of courage certainly, but also optimism, wisdom, hope, loyalty and the profound insight that comes from a life of reflection. Of seeking and finding meaning.
Nathan was a smart and talented young man whose special brilliance was clearly a love of others. He was such a good friend. Not just the sort who was loyal and kind, but the sort whose own life struggle meant that everything he said or did as your friend was supercharged. He had such power because he was full of life, love and, particularly, a profound love of his God.
And all the while he conducted himself as an ordinary teenager; never looking for special treatment or consideration. This was a special quality.
His friends and family clearly loved him. And he was clearly very lovable.
As a keen student of scripture Nathan would have known the passage wherein Jesus reminds us that we can never know when our life will end, how much time we have, and so on. He accepted the logical consequence of this was to try to live each day well.
Some say it is wise to live each as if it is your last – not racing around trying to crazily fit as much as possible into each day, but instead living each day with grace and gratitude.
I think that this was one of Nathan’s special gifts to us. Grace and gratitude.
I was so impressed by the manner in which his sister, his father, his mother spoke eloquently of their love for Nathan and his impact on their lives.
I was in awe of our students who told their stories of lives shared with friends; of moments, themes, and of meaning. Such courage and poise in the face of grief.
I was reminded how precious the gift of life is. Of how important it is to value that gift.
Each of us can struggle to go about that day by day but we can still work at it. We still have some time.
Nathan has no such time left. But the way he used the time he had should inspire us all.
It did me.
Vincent J Feeney