When I first talked to Jim Chastain about chronicling this part of his life in a very public way, I was reminded of the story of an old man in ancient Israel who was planting a fig tree when a Roman general happened to pass by. The general said to the man, “Don’t you realize it will take twenty years before that tree will grow enough to give fruit, and you will be long dead by then?” The old man responded, “When I was a small child, I could eat fruit because those who came before me had planted trees. Am I not obliged to do the same for the next generation?”
Since every one of us is going to die, why should we not learn from those who are going through the experience – learn how to move through the dying time with dignity, but also learn how to live each day, until that happens, in a way that will provide “fruit” for the next generation.
Jim Chastain has a gift of poetry. He uses words to express his feelings and his experiences in a way that resonates with me. I want to learn from this man everything I can – and in his sharing of this experience, I am certain I will find it useful for myself and I will teach it to my children and grandchildren and in the doing of that, Jim’s life will bear fruit for the generations that follow.