Your Mom asked me to write about my take on today. Today of all days. And it is your Mom who asked. And from what I gather she’s a lady you don’t turn down. And it’s you. And I am nervous. Beyond nervous actually. How do I honor you? How do I do justice to not just your life and the celebration of you which took place today – but YOU? Your soul. The true you, not the shell that I was around and talked to yesterday and today. Some are probably thinking, “She spoke to a corpse?” No. I spoke to you, what I was looking at was a shell of you, but I spoke to you. The you I know. I spoke because I know that in instances such as this (and others) God allows those messages to be heard. I am no expert and am not quoting any bible verses here – but I just know. I know because it has been so evident the love you have for those around you and I know the love that God has for you, for us – and so I know. I know that you were there and I know that you heard what was spoken out loud and I know that God translated for you what was spoken from the heart. There is comfort in that. Today was your celebration, this is true, and God won’t let you miss the honor that is due.
What a surreal weekend my friend. There were moments I was so fully present that the pain of those around me was crushing. There were moments I was so absent in spirit I felt like I was observing another universe thinking, “Can this be real?”. There were moments I was vocal expressing out loud, “How do those without a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ make it through this? Without hope, without being able to look forward to a day of being reunited with someone that we love – with you… without all of that how can they make it through what today feels like a crushing blow??” And the tears were shed. Those particular ones weren’t for you though (sorry ’bout that – but I think you’ll be okay w/ the reason why), but for so many that you loved that have not yet trusted in what you trust in. And there were moments where I said nothing. Where I stook back, observed, and prayed. At your visitation last night as we made our way forward, talking to various family members I was only semi-present in many of those initial conversations – my eyes instead up front on you and a constant prayer for God’s grace and mercy running through my mind. And then there I was, and there you were, and, and well – I miss you.
As was the same with my Grandad (which, how in 30+ years of knowing each other did it never come up in conversation that you were named after Grandad?? I’m just curious b/c it seems like that would have come up before now… food for thought my friend on tidbits of info that could be helpful to share – I mean, you know, later, when it’s relevant again and all) I looked at my friend, my cousin and thought, “Thank you God for your mercies. Thank you for giving us more than just this. More than just this piece of life.” Without your soul, without your smiles, your expressions, your everything – it really isn’t you. And so I stood back in the corner, I observed and I prayed and I pondered. Why do we accept death so easily? Can we become a people and a church and a country that someday refuses to accept death and instead petitions our God for more time? Would he ever answer “yes” as has happened in other areas of the world? And I stood back and prayed for those I watched as I battled back feelings of remorse, regret, and a longing to show such honor to Him that there would one day be that “yes”…
I could go on and on about that one, trying to work it through my brain – but in reality that while it might be either interesting or crazy (depending on where you stand with that subject), tonight… well, tonight I would just be stalling. Stalling because I don’t necessarily want to reflect on this morning. Even though driving away from Broken Bow this afternoon I had a strange, surreal feeling of peace – I’ve also had multiple moments where that peace has been shattered as the reality of loss once again sets in and I find myself back in the battle – battling back toward the truth of who you are and where you are because of it and the fact that as Scott put it, “Our God is still good.”
See, here’s the thing, I have read the recaps in the papers today (what I have been able to find) and they did a good job. They grasped great themes that were heard throughout and that I loved because through others I felt like I got to know you even better and what a blessing. No, what a gift. You were/are dependable. You were/are prepared. Yes and yes.
I don’t work for a paper, but can I also give my perspective? You love God. You love Jesus. You KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the man who walked the face of this earth 2,000+ years ago named Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the son of God who was innocently and brutally murdered as was the plan so that he could RISE FROM THE DEAD three days later and become the mediator between us and God. He paid the price for our messes, our mistakes, our screw ups, our life. You knew it. You accepted it. You love Him. You built a relationship with Him. You. Lived. It. You said it and that was important but more importantly you lived it through and through. 100%. Genuine.
THIS… This was the running theme. There was a song played, one of my favorites – one that I had to take a deep breath when I heard the first few chords and emotionally brace myself, “I Can Only Imagine.”
I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By Your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me…
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
Knowing you my guess is that you did not dance but you did stand in awe and I’m also guessing your tongue was bit tied. I mean, unless it was just w/ me all of these years that sometimes had to pull the words out… but Coach Brown confirmed it wasn’t just me in his message We can only imagine, but you know. You KNOW. I could see you there today, at moments that smile on your face and other moments grinning that big cute contagious grin.
I know you were pleased. We were pleased because you were celebrated so beautifully by those who love you most. You were pleased because the gospel was shared. And it was shared in such a Zane fashion. There was no fire and brimstone. Instead, it was a firm truth that was laid out with love and passion but at the same time, kindness – genuine words because we love you and we love those that you love. And the most important thing is to make sure they know why you are the way you are. Why you care, why you invested in them and why you so desperately want to have a reunion and be in their cheering section in heaven, probably hanging back just a little bit but when the time is right wrap them up in one of your fabulous bear hugs.
This is what I really walked away with. After today, there can be no doubt about the truth of your life and the truth of Jesus Christ who so desperately loves us He died for us and wants to build this incredible love relationship with us that will last forever and ever. This truth was spoken over and over, from multiple perspectives. Those who love you know this was the driving force behind everything you did, everything you are – if they still choose to live life their way…. Well, they can. They can, but that is a choice, a conscious choice. There is nobody that was present today or watching via the internet that will one day stand before the throne of God and can claim ignorance. Excuses were taken away today.
It was good. You are good. You are loved. You are missed. But above all – thank you. Thank you friend. Thank you cousin. Thank you brother.
Love you Zane.