(aka More Good Byes)

I’ve been largely away from my blog for a lot of reasons.  This was partly due to work as I was hit with a lot of deadlines.  But I cleared a huge novel edit project from my plate, along with getting the Dark Faith 2 line up set, wrapping up a short story for Appalachian Undead, and a huge freelance blog project (over 50 blog entries in two weeks … be glad I wasn’t doing that here).

Partly it was due to personal reasons.  I took some time away from everything as I had to say goodbye to another friend.

“I’ve never seen anything where a minister is killed in his own church,” Ellison said. “Here’s somebody who’s just trying to help his fellow man and to beautify his community. . . . It’s just a tragedy in every sense of the word.”

Only a few months ago I was sitting with Jaman in a coffeeshop, challenging one another, enjoying one another’s company.  So it was surreal when I got the phone call that morning.  Little more than an hour after it happened, a mutual friend called to let me know he was gone.  The seeming randomness of it all was tough enough to come to grips with.  Our friend, Erik Cooper, wrote about grieving his loss. But that wasn’t what had me so in knots.

It wasn’t as if I needed answers.  There was no overwhelming need to make sense of it.  I’m in a place of acceptance that bad shit happens and I’m just thankful more of it doesn’t happen to me more often.  But I was still thrown by such a young person with so much left to contribute to the Kingdom and the world being snuffed out so soon.

It was the toughest funeral I’ve ever been a part of.  With most of the people close to me who I’ve lost, I’ve had time with them, to prepare and say good-bye.  We can say treat every encounter and moment as if it will be your last, but in the back of our minds, we assume we will see them tomorrow.  Or next week.  Or whenever we can coordinate our busy lives again.  But that was also what I took away from the funeral, too.  From his co-pastor, his widow, his mother, his friends, the message was the same:  his was a life fully lived.  He had few regrets because he embraced every relationship and opportunity.  His life was an example and I’m glad to have walked with him for as long as I did.