Today is a day of mixed emotions. Members of our church family will be burying a young man whose very presence lit up rooms. He was genuine, kind, encouraging, and a great leader. He included everyone–even the socially awkward North Carolina transplant. He was a Bronco and I an Aggie. The shade he would throw about #NOHOE trying to take over #GHOE (HBCU talk for No Other Homecoming on Earth and Greatest Homecoming On Earth) was epic. How I’d look forward to his posts about all he was going to do in NC the weekend before our Homecoming. I’d usually come back with something along the lines of now that you all had the appetizer, time for the main course. My corny attempt at trying to word spar with a master. Still, he would spar back and never made me feel silly for the competition.
His passing was so unexpected. One day he was posting about dreaming and playing spades. The next his family was posting asking for prayers. Then, he was gone. This young man had only reached 32, but the way he lived spanned MUCH longer. He lived every day as if it were his last one. He laughed hard, worked hard, played hard, and loved hard. Singing in the choirs and ensembles, his worship was genuine and his praise paramount. His gratitude for just opening his eyes and seeing another day was so infectious. His smile and laugh made you want to laugh as well. And in him, I learned life lessons.
I have learned that I have to live as if today is the last day. There is a quote that is attributed to Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as the Black Panther in the Marvel movie franchise. It says:
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.”
That was the life and legacy of my friend. There have been days on end when I have done absolutely nothing and have taken everything for granted. I need the world to know that I am thankful for the example left by my friend and the kick in the pants given to remind me that I too should use everything God has given me.
I am so very thankful to have had the opportunity to know and break bread with this young man, to have served in ministry with him, and to observe his Godly walk and know its sincerity.
He will be missed, but only for a season. I know where he is and how to see him again. I pray I’ve learned that step that he was so good at delivering because I plan on going in right beside him.
Until we meet again.