Every life—and death—teaches

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I thought I’d see him again.
On this side of heaven.

I was wrong.

charleyInstead, I saw only pictures of Charley yesterday at his memorial service.

He was only 26. But age is irrelevant in car wrecks. Charley (that’s his real name, not “Bobby”) died Saturday in one.

Who knew he’d be gone so soon?

Less than a year ago, Charley was getting ready to move out of The Way and into his own apartment. He was excited about his home, his job, his independence. And for the most part, he did well with it all. He had a setback or two (who doesn’t?), but he kept working hard to stay clean. To repay debts. To make a difference.

Now his setbacks are over. His temptations are gone.

And his work has ended. Well, maybe.

Tom, the director of The Way, said Charley had dreams of returning one day to teach there. He won’t make it back in person. But he will teach there. And many other places.

He already is.

His old roommate told us yesterday that he’s been learning much from Charley even in the past two days since he’s been gone. 

Because when a friend dies, the friendship doesn’t. The lessons continue on. The message of their life still speaks.

Charley’s life still speaks to mine. Even though I feel I haven’t earned the right to grieve him like his friends who knew him so well.

But I grieve the piece of him that I did know. The piece that tugged on my heart every Wednesday night for months as we sat across from each other in metal folding chairs in a small classroom and talked about Jesus.

I so wanted Charley to do well. To be well. And now he is.

He taught me when he was here.
Keep teaching me now that you’re gone.
I have so much yet to learn...

* * *

Sorry, Floyd, that I didn’t give Charley your message. But maybe he got it anyway.

To all who left comments and lifted up prayers for Charley from my blog post in February, may you feel comforted knowing they were heard, not just by me, but by Him.

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