Sunday, July 7, 2013

Friends loved as much as family

Every once in a while, people are blessed with friends whom they love like family. We have been blessed in that way. There are several families in our church whom we consider family. We call them when we rejoice. We call them when we are sad. We call them when we laugh. We call them when we cry. We call them when we need help. They do the same with us. One of those families is pictured here. We love this family - all of them and right now we hurt with them. You see, seven years ago, Jason, the handsome young man on the left was diagnosed with cancer. He was way too young to have cancer. It just couldn't be true. But it was true.

Jason was a fighter. Jason, along with an army of doctors, fought a long hard battle. He took more rounds of chemo and had more radiation treatments and more surgery than any one body should have to endure. He and his daddy, Gary, said they were running a marathon - not a sprint. Jason did just that. He kept on putting one foot in front of the other going from one scan to the next. On Friday, Jason went to be with Jesus. I can hardly type those words without sobbing. Yes, I am a Christian and yes, I believe he is with Jesus and yes, I believe he is no longer in pain and his body is whole and I hope he is eating something really yummy and enjoying every bite and I hope he is fishing in God's favorite fishing spot . . .but oh, Jason will be missed on earth. One of my preacher friends, Wade Griffith, told me that when we pray for healing, we are praying for MORE TIME. God gave Jason more time. Statistically his chances were slim of living even five years yet he lived here on this earth 7 years after his diagnosis. He was a fighter. He was courageous. He was running a marathon not a sprint.

Jason loved to fish. Anytime we were able to spend time with Jason, he and Mark were talking about fishing. Oh he loved to fish. He was also so kind to our daughter, Laura. I can't give you a single example of that but it is somehow seared on my brain that he was so kind to her.  I can actually see them laughing together about something - that is some memory that is tickling around in my brain.  He loved his crazy dog . . .even though that dog drove his daddy and Dona crazy at times. He loved his family.

Did I mention that he was a fighter? Did I mention his courage? Did I mention that he was running a marathon not a sprint? Oh, yes he was.

Back in November our friend Butch (another friend loved as much as family) died when she fell down a flight of steps. Butch mailed a card to Jason every single week telling him that she was thinking of him and praying for him. She actually put a card in the mail to him on the day she died. I keep wondering if Butch was standing at the Pearly Gates waiting on Jason with open arms . . .standing beside Jesus saying, "I've been waiting on you. Welcome home. You are going to love it here. Let me show you around." I know that is probably not theologically correct but that thought has given me comfort over the last few days. This is going to be a really hard week for our friends. We are going to surround them with prayer . . .and we are going to surround them with hugs . . .we are going to feed them (we live in the south - we are united methodists - that is what we do - feed people!!). We will be with them on Friday at the memorial service. They are our friends. They are our family.  We sure will miss you Jason.  Tell Butch hello for us.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I had not heard this -- if they announced it this morning I was not listening. My heart goes out to his family and friends. What a beautiful tribute you have written, Lisa. And I don't have a bit of trouble imagining Butch being right there to meet him with a hug. Love you!

    Lisa H.