When speaking to Christian groups I often will give a word of my background, and how, at age 15, I felt a calling to full time Christian ministry. I tell of my former attitude about pastors in general....that I perceived one had to be two things to be a pastor: 1) really old and 2) really boring. I then tell about the new pastor that came to our church. He was 28 years old, fun, funny, full of enthusiasm for God and for His church. He loved to ski and play tennis. He often included me in these avocations. I didn't know it then, but I realized years after, he was discipling me. Eventually I could see myself doing what he was doing, and loving it. A couple years into his ministry, I felt a sense of God calling me to ministry as well.
That was decades ago and it finally dawned on me I should try to get in touch to tell him of my profound gratitude for his involvement in my life.
I found him... he died February 11, 2011, age 74, of cancer.
Why it did not occur to me earlier to say thank you I'd can't fathom. I will purpose more intentionally grateful for the people around me!