We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
“Not my will but yours be done.”
~ Luke 22:42
God is the ultimate teacher. Some of His lessons take a lifetime to learn. Some of them happen so fast your head spins.
Today, I lost a friend. We had been very close in high school (we graduated 8 years ago now), but when I left for college, I was not good about keeping in touch. I blamed him, because he didn’t like technology and wasn’t on AIM, or later Facebook. But there was no reason I couldn’t have picked up a phone or written an actual letter. Today, God has shown me how quickly life can change.
Monday, I noticed an odd influx of photos of my friend on Facebook (he got an account very recently, giving me hope that we might get back in touch). Tuesday, the comments on these photos revealed that he was deathly ill. This morning, he was gone.
I have spent my day watching one of the most amazing miracles of modern technology: the outpouring of love and mini-eulogies, followed the crystallization of a Facebook page no one will ever log into again. He was never the technology type, and I don’t know who finally convinced him to get a Facebook page, but I am so glad that he did, because now it is for us, to share memories, and read stories from people we’ve never met who loved him at least as much as we did, if not more.
I quoted 1 Thessalonians above, a quote that is comforting to me when I think about the bright shining light that was my friend going out. I know he is shining just as brightly in heaven right now. The second quote is a reminder to myself. Jesus in the Garden prayed to God, alone and scared, that He would not have to endure his subsequent death on the cross. His prayer ended with this sentence, though. “Not my will but yours be done.” God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Initial Mover, the Creator, and His will is always done. He knows what is best for us, and when it is time for a friend to leave before we are ready to let go of them.
I have spent most of the past couple days thinking about the time I spent with him in high school, the fun we had, and his amazing, unique personality. I have been through the process of beating myself up over falling out of touch. I have dealt with the shock of having someone my own age (his birthday was the same week as mine, even) leave us. And now, I am praying to him, with him. I know he’s listening to me, and probably laughing at me for being so worried about being out of touch. I’m remembering the good times and sharing my favorites with him. In a way, he’s gotten even closer to me than he ever was. Sure, we can’t have lunch together anymore, but I feel his presence with me and with everyone else who loves him.
He fought the battle with cancer and died far too young. But I can’t imagine his vibrancy confined to a hospital bed, tied down by illness. He needs to be free. And he is.
Rest in peace, David Jose, and may your laughter echo off the clouds as you dance with the angels in Our Father’s house. I look forward to seeing you again!