Last night, one of my co-workers past away.
He was 28.
He had lung cancer.
He was diagnosed on his 28th birthday, just a few weeks after William was born. I remember hearing the news and thinking, "Wow, I really need to stop crying over how difficult my recovery was. He is going through something so much more serious." Isn't it awful how easy it is to think "be grateful, they have it worse than you."
He fought so hard for nearly nine months. Chemo. Radiation. Pain medication. Tests. It rarely let up.
I can't say I knew my co-worker at all. Really, I can't. Which is sad. We worked in the same building for four years and exchanged a handful of emails and rarely said Hi to one another. He had friends, and didn't seem to need another. But to be honest, I would have loved to be a part of his circle. I'm not excusing myself from blame here, I should have put myself out there. But I didn't. We did have one conversation when I first started working there about film stuff.
He was really talented. He managed our social media presence and video ministry. Sort of like what my husband did for the Navigators (hence the film conversation above). He was on fire for Jesus. God caught his attention young and he was super involved in ministry and outreach. I know this from seeing his work and reading his blog, not from personal connection. His ability to share Christ in any story, post or video was amazing. To God be the Glory in all he did.
Have you ever watched someone from afar and wondered how they did it? How do they live life in such a way that makes you want what they have? Or live the way they live? I have what he has - a relationship with Jesus, but I still wanted what he had! I needed to have more.
I saw that even more so through his suffering. He was fairly transparent in sharing about it on his blog and Facebook. He loved Christ. Simple as that and nothing, not even stage 3B lung cancer, was going to stop his faith. If anything, it was stronger.
Why do I share this with you? Because although I didn't know him well, I feel something. I feel sad. More for those left behind: his wife -- I cry for her nearly every day. I can't imagine the pain her heart feels. And I can't imagine myself in her shoes. Saying goodbye to my husband.
But I also feel an overwhelming sense of awe. This guy is with Jesus, his first love, right now. It's beautiful. It's painful, but it's beautiful. No more tears, or pain, or messed up medical junk. Just basking in the presence of the King he worshiped.
Awe. I'm in awe of the life he lived. I'm in awe of the grace-filled death he died. I'm in awe of the eternal life he is now experiencing. I'm in awe of Jesus - the life he lived, the death he died and the eternal life he gives.
Thank you Lord for taking this man home to be with you. Lord, comfort his wife, his brother, his sister and parents. Comfort those who morn his death and help them rejoice in your eternal gift. Amen.