Body Temple Part V: Understanding The Death of a Friend

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a

I took the above photo in April of this year with the plan of writing a blog about one of my best friends, Tim. It’s taken me a while to finally sit down and start this blog. I know we all will eventually have to deal with loss in our lives of a friend or family member. For me the loss of Tim was like me losing a friend that was really closer to me than any brother could be. He was the first friend I made when I moved down from Chicago to Memphis Tennessee. The first time I met him was in an adult Sunday School class in our chosen church at the time. Tim was one of those types of people that made friends quickly. He always was positive and had this great smile on his face all the time. He was a writer by trade and as I write this blog, I am overcome with tears to wonder what he would think of my writing. Not only that, but also what I have overcome in my life. I know he would be proud of the major victories in my life.

We shared many experiences together in our short time we knew each other. First and foremost we had a relationship with Jesus Christ; that so much a part of our friendship. Tim was my first accountability partner. We would pray for each other during the week and try to meet up as often as we could. We enjoyed seeing the same type of movies, so he was a great movie partner. When I started dating my wife, I would share worries or concerns I had. He stood up at my wedding. He helped plan one of the godliest bachelor parties ever. As marriage and other responsibilities took over, our friendship continued, but became more distant. My wife loved Tim as well, so we would do different activities when time permitted. One of the fondest memories was taking a trolley ride all over Memphis and seeing things we never saw before; through Tim’s eyes.

As time went on Tim took a mission trip that rocked his world and changed some things in his life. One of them was to become a youth leader in our church. The kids loved him and he loved them as well. He was such a great youth leader. I saw him through rocky relationships with a couple of awesome woman that would have been great for him, but he never could make the commitment. He would break their hearts later on. I know his drive and commitment was to God and His kingdom. He wanted to focus more on the ministry he was involved in. He was an awesome influence, not just in my life, but the life of many kids and people that thought the world of him.

Then at the end of September of 2003, I got word that he was in the hospital. My wife and I went to visit him and to see how he was doing. He was there smiling and being positive as always. We found out he had contracted a disease that if left untreated would kill him. At the time, we had no clue he was going to die from this disease the following week. That was the last time I saw him alive. Before we left we took the opportunity to tell him we loved him. Then everything happened so quickly that we never got back to see him before he passed away. I have been told he went to be with Jesus as the youth he was involved with sang hymns to him as he left this world.

I still don’t get it. Why did God allow this godly man to die such a horrible death? How many more kids could he have reached for Jesus if he was still alive? I just don’t understand. I know God always takes a negative and makes it a positive, but in this case; I’m not sure what that positive is. Maybe that is the positive right there. His life impacted mine in such a way that his godly legacy is something to sought after. A worthy goal to be more Christ like in looking back at the way he lived his life. I have no doubt that God can see the forest through the trees, but we can’t.  We just have to trust God and know He will make a positive from a negative.  With the loss and death of anyone, we keep their legacy alive when we take time to recall things about them that impacted our lives.

Tim’s death affected my body temple first in a negative way.  The depression I was already experiencing was made worst. I gained 100 pounds in two years and ended up with sleep apnea and heart failure.  The positive was I had an awakening moment and realized something needed to be done to change this.  Tim’s death brought me to the point of brokenness where we are so low, all we can do is to look up.  As I was broken through his death, I was made alive by the hope that God renewed in me.  Tim’s body is the only thing that is dead; his flesh is gone.  His soul lives on with Jesus.  As the scripture above says there is a time to be born and a time to die.  Death brings life.  Jesus dying on the cross brings life.  The people who we are close to that impact our lives, when they die they bring life to us.  We want to live a life as they lived.  For me I just want to be a 1/4 of the man Tim was.  It was fitting his family put a lighthouse on his tombstone.  Wherever Tim went, when he was alive, there was no darkness, because the light of Christ shined out of him.   When we lose significant people in our lives we sometimes feel empty.  The thing we have to remember is God will bring other people in our lives that can be as significant or better.  I’m not saying that He will replace that person, but He will provide more significance if we look for it with an open heart.  He was an amazing friend, writer, man of God, brother and a life-giver.  He impacted and inspired my life.  I would like to hear in your comments, stories of friends or loved ones that impacted your life significantly that have died.  It might be a good thing to be able to sit and write about them.  I know if Tim could read this blog he would be very proud of what I have done and humble at the same time in knowing what an impact he made in my life.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. April says:

    Oh he would have been so proud of you in all areas, especially in your writings. I too feel as if even in the darkest times in my life I could see the light when he entered the room. I loved him and I love you!!! God gave me the two best in the two of you and Sherry too!

    1. asd539 says:

      April, we love you too!!! I really didn’t expect you to read this, must be a God thing. Thanks so much for the comment, it was difficult to write this, but I got through it. 🙂

  2. Shirley Anne says:

    That David is a wonderful epitaph for a dear departed friend. It must have wrenched your heart to see his leaving but you know that God had a purpose in it all, for one He has given you the capability of showing your love and understanding a love greater than yours even more. May God bless you and keep you.
    Oh and thank you for visiting my blog and making comment. Love

    Shirley Anne x

    1. asd539 says:

      Thanks for the comment Shirley. It was tough writing it. 🙂

  3. Shirley Anne says:

    I forgive you calling me Shirley. It is Shirley Anne. Love

    Shirley Anne x

    1. asd539 says:

      Opps, sorry Shirley Anne. 🙂

  4. Mel says:

    David, my heart breaks for your loss. I can feel the hurt in each sentence. Thank you so much for your courage to write about a wound so raw, so close to your heart.

    I understand some of your confusion. Your questions are legitimate. Why would God allow this awesome man to die? What good does that do for the Kingdom, right? I think sometimes it’s easy to think that God just “allows” stuff bad stuff to happen to those we consider good people. But really, bad things happen, ultimately, because of our own choice back in the garden that led to this broken world including physical death. It says in Psalm 116:15 that the Lord cares deeply when His loved ones dies, that the death of His saints (His godly ones) is precious in His sight. God sees the big picture, however, even when we don’t. His ways are so much higher, His thoughts are so much higher. You said it right, He sees the forest through the trees. Physical death is inevitable but don’t worry, he is going to live forever and so are you!! 🙂 It hurts, it’s hard, but let it chase you deeper into the arms of our Savior God.

    Which, I wrote all that before reading your last paragraph. Which, just, wow, is all I can form, wow. It moved me almost to tears. You said everything so beautifully and sharing your loss is so encouraging to others who’ve suffered the same thing. I have yet to lose someone close to me. I’m kind of dreading it and try not to give it much thought.

    You’re an amazing writer and do your friend such a great tribute here. God bless you, David!!

    1. asd539 says:

      Thanks so much Mel for your addition to my blog. Yeah, I had puffy eyes when I got done writing this,but I never really sat down to do this before. I really needed to do it and some people that knew Tim needed me to do it. Thanks for your cool reply. 🙂

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