To my dear friend Skip: I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write this – and with your passing from this life, to the next, yesterday, I supposed it’s now really meant for me and those who knew and loved you, and those who WILL come to know you posthumously – and while I know I’ve expressed some of what is to follow to you, Linda and the girls, in person over the years, I was not able to more recently, when last face-to-face, what an impact your friendship has had on my life…so now I’ll tell the world instead.
Skipper, you have always been a good friend and a great dad & husband…you lived a life of love, joy, peace & happiness that had to end with a joyous exclamation mark as you closed your eyes for the last time here on earth and opened them to gaze upon our Savior; hearing for the first –surely not the last – time, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” Stepping from your broken earthly vessel, into the arms of Jesus.
Oh what a party there must be in Heaven this week! (I’m sure with you there Skip, the party may well go on for all eternity, for a more joy-filled servant will not easily be found in His Kingdom, now that you are there!)
That you lived your life selflessly is an understatement.
When my mother went home to be with the Lord, December 4th, 1997 (yes, on the anniversary of the very same DAY you earned your perfect new body) you and Linda lead others in prayer over me, loved me, hugged me and helped me through the emotional ups and downs that followed. Without prompting you would offer a hug, a prayer, an encouraging word whenever we ran into each other. I really loved that about you bro!
While you were the throws of your own battle with cancer, instead of seeking the pity and sympathy of others, you rallied the body of Christ to raise awareness of the need and funds for another young couple where the wife, a new mom, was diagnosed with a painful and rare form of cancer. You stood in the food line, not getting, but serving others who had come to a barbeque on the lawn of our local church; barked out ‘Be sure to buy some of those cookies and cakes over there too! It all goes to the family…”
When you took me for a ride in your cool sports car (a Cobra, wasn’t it?) it wasn’t to show off your success and your toys…it was to share a laugh-filled ride with me, your friend!
When my wife and I tearfully opened the gifts & card from our wonderful friends, who gathered together to raise money to send us to Hawaii for our 20th wedding anniversary (And knowing that if it only cost a quarter to fly around the world, I couldn’t afford to cross the street! LOL) there was your and Linda’s fond wishes and congratulations written therein.
When you were trying to figure out how to use “this stupid computer…can’t get it to work or do anything!” you could have called anyone to handle the issues, but you trusted me and blessed me by allowing me to help you and your family get it working. (By the way, you never told anyone about me showing you WHERE to kick computers to make them work, did you? I don’t usually give trade secrets like that away, ya know! J)
I can only hope to honor your life by serving your family in whatever way the Lord and they allow; by serving others as selflessly as you did, to love others as completely as you did. You’ve left some might big shoes to fill and I doubt any dozen men could combine their ‘talents and treasures’ to equal your goodness and kindness.
While I know you have been completely healed, that your earthly suffering will be completely overshadowed by your eternal perfect life, I still can’t help but miss you. I’ve promised myself to only spread the Good News, as you did; to laugh wholly, as you did; to love completely, as you did; especially when sharing about how your life intersected and influenced mine…but today…
Today you will have to forgive me, as I weep deeply over the loss of a good man, a godly friend and the closing of a wonderful chapter in my life, and from whom the lessons I’ve learned I hope will not be soon forgotten.
Until we meet again, dear friend, may God tell all the angels and citizen’s of Heaven of His good works through your life; and may the heavens burn brighter in remembrance of the laughter and joy you spread here before joining them, forever and ever…Amen.