My friend Dave died this week, a victim of an unexpected stroke — tragically young (early 50s?)
Although I hadn’t seen Dave much in the last two years since I moved, there was a period of maybe 5 years that we met regularly for coffee every Monday morning, with a few other guys, before work. During that time, we all suffered with him through his divorce, and rejoiced with him when he found, wooed, and married Susan. And we got to hear a lot about progress in the lives of his two daughters, of whom he was so proud.
Dave was a manly man; he knew about manly things like cars and preventative maintenance. He also had sophisticated tastes in wine, food, and jazz. On the other hand, he also had a corny sense of humor, epitomized by his love for Ernest movies (“you know what ah mean, Vern?” Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, …).
Dave loved my kids. He taught two of them through 1st-2nd grade sunday school, and he was always telling me or Tina some story about something they said or did in class that amazed him or made him laugh. I know he told other parents about things their kids did in class, but I like to think he loved my boys the most.
I don’t feel any compunction to say only nice things about Dave; he surely had his warts like the rest of us, but I didn’t see much evidence of them. When he was going through his divorce, he told me what he thought his faults were in the marriage: being distant and curt when laid up with back injuries, getting impatient and angry. (He often encouraged me not to take my wife for granted.) He might have had a bit of a temper, but I only ever saw him calmly deal with frustrating issues that would have enraged me.
But I don’t need to have seen his faults to know that Dave was a sinner; the bible tells me so, and he confessed it himself. Dave might have been less of a sinner than most of us, but he was still enough of a sinner to earn and deserve the eternal wrath of God in hell. Thankfully, God gave him the grace to be able to claim Christ’s sacrifice, bearing that punishment on his behalf. That’s the only reason Dave’s untimely death is not a total tragedy; he will be resurrected on the last day. Meanwhile, a lot of people will be missing him.
Memorial services at New Life PCA, la Mesa, Sat Apr 11, 2pm.
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