On Friday I got the news that a friend passed away. It was unexpected, out of the blue. I hadn’t known that he was sick. Pete was the kind of friend who I was always glad to see and now that he’s gone, I wish I had seen more. Pete liked to poke me a little bit and challenge me to think outside my comfort zone. I’m going to miss that. We all have those friends; the friends who live on the fringe of our daily routines yet add a richness to our lives. His passing made me realize I don’t know much about Pete’s life but I knew he faced challenges. I always had a sense that I wanted to help Pete but always stopped short of taking a further step. Maybe that’s why hearing of Pete’s death hit me so hard on Friday.
I had recently posted about creating heaven on earth and to be honest, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for all of the no-risk engagement I have with people in the hope of brightening their day. I even wrote, “None of this costs me anything…” I failed Pete. I’ll never call anyone hypocrite again.
Pete administered a weight loss program at the church. We taught some classes together and then always had a nice visit before class if we had separate classroom assignments. We kept in touch on Facebook. Pete was always hungry to share knowledge, to encourage and to share stories. He rarely complained.
So many times, when someone passes we offer condolences to the bereaved that their loved one is in a better place. We are always sincere about that. If we are honest I might suggest that we don’t really think too deeply about it when we offer those comforting words. On Saturday I was still mourning Pete and feeling convicted that we hadn’t been closer.
And then I had the thought of Pete in heaven. I saw Jesus wrapping Pete in his arms and Pete snuggling in, laying his head on God’s shoulder. I imagined Pete’s smile and sense of relief from the warmth of God’s love following through him and washing away all of the pain and concerns from Pete’s life on earth. I will miss you Pete but I am so happy knowing where you are today. Whatever I could have done for Pete he doesn’t need anymore. I sure need him though. He is still challenging me to think outside my comfort zone. Pete was always good at that.
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