Some people might think that the columnists for the Tribune and Ledger are well acquainted with one another. We’re not. Though I know a couple of them well, there are others that I have never met. There is no collaboration between the writers as to the subject matter we are going to cover. We are all different people with different ideas and points of view. Each writer has people that follow and support their columns. On the flip side, we all have people that loathe our columns and say ugly things about us. There are those that even make it personal when they don’t even know us. Since I don’t know most of the others personally, I can’t speak for them. As for me, I welcome the positive and negative reviews. Any review means what I’ve written has been read. That’s a win in my book.

Most weeks, I do take the time to read what my colleagues have written because I know the difficulty it is to pen those words to paper. What some may think takes us a few minutes to put together, at least for me, often takes hours of thought and inner struggle before the first word is typed. That is only for the first draft. I will re-read what I’ve written several times before hitting the send button. Maybe it comes easier for the others. It’s very possible I’m just not that smart. But like my Daddy told me many years ago, “I don’t care what you do in life boy. But whatever it is, do it to the best of your ability.”

This week while scrolling through social media, I saw the preview for Melvyn Fein’s column. It said something about getting straight to the point. So, I clicked on the column to read what Dr. Fein had to say. He wrote about life and death which is usually in my wheelhouse. This one was different. Dr. Fein says in his column that he has very little time left on earth as he is suffering with inoperable pancreatic cancer. His words literally gave me chills as he talked about dying and his perspective on the subject. I felt a wave of sadness rush over me when I had finished reading. To put it plainly, it tore me up.

Every columnist has had their share of people who strongly disagree with their opinions. Some go to the point of name calling. Though I am no stranger to receiving hateful remarks, none of us have received more name calling than Dr. Fein. There is no doubt this is due to his strong political beliefs along with his willingness to put his opinions out there for all of us to read. Though I have agreed with some of his thoughts, there have been columns he has written that I have strongly disagreed with. To the point of countering his opinion in a couple of my own columns. You may not know this because I didn’t call him out. That isn’t something I would feel right doing.

In Dr. Fein’s column, he refers to himself as an agnostic. This is not like an atheist that believes there is no God. In very simplified terms, an agnostic will say they don’t know if there is a God or not. This is too important to paraphrase. Dr. Fein said in his column, “I do not know if there is a God or a heaven. If there is, I guess I will find out. I also hope that if there is a God, He will be merciful enough to forgive my inadequacies.” My only reply to this is He is merciful and none of us are adequate.

If you are a Christian, regardless of your race, gender, denomination, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or any of the other multitude of things that make us different, you will join me in praying for Dr. Fein. If you are a Christian, you will want Jesus to reveal Himself to Dr. Fein in a loving and powerful way while time permits. None of us are guaranteed our next breath. If for any reason, any of us that call ourselves Christians can’t join together in prayer because of difference of opinions, may God Have mercy on our souls. That isn’t Christianity and it isn’t love. And God is love.

Dr. Fein, your column reminded me of the brevity of this life. I pray sir, that I will meet you in heaven.

Chris Collett is a longtime resident of Cherokee County.

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