We’ve been given a finite number of breaths to breathe, and a finite number of talents to employ, and it seems to me the conundrum of life is figuring out ways to use those talents and opportunities to the fullest before those finite number of breaths run out.
My cousin, Bill Becknell, died last night. Bill was a fascinating, talented, loving man and I’m glad to have spent time with him and Mary Beth, though those times were too few and far between. Bill was a generation older than me, and he lived much of his life in South Carolina, so we didn’t see each other often, but Bill’s life left a lasting impression, and one that I think is germane to this blog about reading and writing…
Bill was a gifted musician and a generous soul. He shared his musical gifts with others, most notably playing for and leading the parish choir at Christ Our King Church, in Mt. Pleasant, SC. His title was Director of Music Ministries (it became his position in 1983), but in visiting Bill there at the church, it was clear that he was more than a director, he was a mentor and friend to those involved in the music of the church.
Bill embraced his talent and honored that gift by pursuing music in many forms, and in sharing that pursuit with others. He seized opportunities to travel and enjoy life and continue to deepen his understanding of music and his own ability, and the joy with which he approached life was infectious.
With Bill’s passing, I’m left to ponder my own fidelity to my talents and gifts. (Isn’t that what we should do to honor our beloved dead? Rededicate the life that WE have left…) There are so many days when I close my eyes for the night knowing that I’ve allowed opportunities–to write, to laugh, to love–slip away. Too many of those days.
I hope that I can be more like my cousin Bill. I hope that I find fewer days where I’m left with that sinking feeling that those finite breaths will one day run their course, and I may not have left behind much that demonstrates my own commitment to my art, my family, my faith, my life.
Bill’s family and friends mourn his passing, but we are all better people for having known him.

May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace…

Bill Becknell, RIP
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