Here’s a salute to a long life: goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath. May you live your life in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life. ~ Max Lucado
I am so proud to be a part of my family today. I am so proud of my heritage. I am so proud that I have family building this kind of a legacy. I am so sad that I have family that is a part of leaving this legacy. I am so proud of the goodness and the love and the life that my cousin Zane lived. I am grieving that the grave, the final breath, and death is now a part of his story. Not Zane. Please, I thought, not Zane.
It’s kind of like every major “event”/circumstance/life moment that takes your breath away, good or bad. The circumstances surrounding it are seared into your brain. Much like 9-11. I can tell you the time, where I was, what I was wearing. It seems like slow motion that keeps replaying over and over. Waking up and making coffee. Checking Facebook. Seeing the status updates about the bad bad crash in Ansley and losing the basketball coaches. “How sad!” I thought. You see, I don’t know the Ansley basketball coaches but it’s a community that I love. My roots are from there. I knew my Grandma and probably parents would have known them.
Wait. What did that read again? No, no. The crash was in Ansley. And there were basketball coaches killed. It doesn’t say that the coaches were from Ansley. Zane coaches basketball. Broken Bow is close to Ansley. So I stopped reading status updates and read the comments instead. Zane? Why did they say Zane? I went to my cousin’s status update, “Jamee, people keep saying Zane on FB. That’s not our Zane right? Not our Zane.” In my mind I kept saying over and over and then out loud over and over. “Please no. Not our Zane. Please no. Not Zane.” And then I googled. And up popped his picture. Big. “Nooooooo! Please! Please!” The intensity of my emotions surprised even me. The sobs came next. I had kind of forgotten about the intensity of loss. It’s overwhelming, it takes your breath away.
As I learn more details I become even more proud of him. The players say he tried everything he could. It was too sudden, too fast, there was no where to go. I have been trying to move past the moment of death into the moments I like much better. Zane. Not Zane’s body. Not Zane’s final trip, not the moments, not the accident. But Zane.
I see the picture that all of the news outlets are using and I kind of laugh. While, yes, I’m sure that using the school photos were easily accessible – come on. The world needs to see his smile. It’s a great smile. I mean, who smiles for school pictures? Not football coaches. Definitely not math teachers. Math is nothing to smile about! Zane’s smile was slow and laid back. If you didn’t know it you might mistake it for a shy smile. But if you did, it’s obvious you were looking only at the smile and missed the fact that his smile reached his eyes. And in an instant you know – he’s 100% genuine. He cares. And you feel comfortable, secure. Good. He had that effect on people.
For Zane, family = love. Family = support. He had no problem making time for family – no matter that technically it was our grandparents who were the siblings, parents the cousins and that makes us 2nd cousins – or something like that. Some Ferguson I’m sure can set me on the straight and narrow w/ that one. But you see, it didn’t matter. We were family. So he made time. He was there when it mattered. Dancing with me at my wedding. At my Grandad’s funeral I’ll never forget standing there, lost in my own thoughts and looking up to see Zane walking my direction. He stopped a foot away and just looked at me. “What a sucky day huh?” I said. “Yeah,” he replied with hands in his pockets. We looked at each other for a moment in silence and then he stepped forward to give me one of his hugs and simply whispered, “You did good.” Stuff like that matters doesn’t it? When you’re at your most vulnerable, and someone who loves you just says, “You did good.” Three words. Three words that make a world of difference.
In church today the pastor was talking about the fact that we sometimes have a preview of who God really has made us to be. It’s a preview of who we will be when we are raised again with Jesus without all of our ‘stuff’. He said, “It’s when we engage each other with a level of authenticity – no games.” That’s Zane. A preview of who God made us to be, that was our interaction with Zane.
You see, I want to be angry. I’d rather be able to channel all of this emotion into SOMETHING. Something else. Place blame somewhere instead of just accept that this is a tragic accident. What a human reaction, yes? I don’t want to feel all of this emotion, just being sad. No, I want it to be directed somewhere else. Something else. But I must keep coming back to facts.
Zane loved Jesus. He believed Jesus had saved him and lived it out everyday. From some of the things I’ve read on Facebook it expanded way beyond family. He lived his faith by how he treated others, the friend that he was, the coach that he was, the FCA sponsor that he was.
A friend of ours lost her father in a very tragic accident last year. I will never forget what she shared a few weeks later. She had been praying and God gave her this vision. She saw the accident happening again in this vision and she saw God, watching from above, and His tears fell. While I believe that he welcomed Zane with open arms. I believe he saw this accident and there were tears. Heavenly tears. The real thing. This world of sin and this world of hurt – this is not what He has envisioned for us. This is not what he wants for us.
Hope. I Corinthians 15:19 says, ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.’ There is hope. There is hope that is beyond just this life. Zane loved Jesus. Zane had that hope. There is hope. This is a temporary separation and through the tears, there is hope. That is the message that Zane wants left. Hope. This is not the end. He lived his life in such a way that his death is merely just the beginning of his life. Today it sucks, but ultimately, Jesus came and paid the price so that at the end of the day and at the end of Friday, through the tears, there is hope. That is Zane’s message.
What did you love about him? What is one of your fondest memories? How did he change you? Did you get the smiles and the hugs? Were you changed? What is Zane’s legacy in your life?
Please share. Please please please share. Let’s keep his legacy alive. Please.
- http://clearepic.com/wp-content/uploads/zane.jpeg, http://clearepic.com/wp-content/uploads/zane.jpeg