Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where do we go from here

Recently my life came to a screeching stop. To be more accurate I should say mine was put on pause my best friend's came to an end... You really never know when your time on this world will come to an end. You never know how much of an impact you have around the people in your life. Every little decision makes such a difference in the grand scheme of things, such a difference that one small decision can change the course of people's lives all around you. That one decision to follow what you believe in to strive after something worth living for.

Okay well now down to it. To be less cryptic my best friend Josh Eddy died on May 5th 2012 following his passions photography and Christ. Josh was the closest friend I have ever had. We meet at church one day when our fathers introduced us and at that time I had no idea how close of friends we would become. If I remember correctly It was about two weeks later when I invited him over to my house. That day we clicked, we had majorly different personalities he was out going and very right brained. I was an introvert and very left brained but we understood each other so well. We were able to mention any scenario or emotion and instantly we knew what the other was talking about.

From there I friendship took off, from that Sunday on we went to each others house every Sunday without fail. Even with those long Sunday afternoons during the week we would call each other and talk for hours about whatever was on our minds. Our friendship quickly took on a whole new level. We talked to each other about everything we were having problems with, our likes, dislikes, and the like(yes pun intended). Josh's love for photography and my love for adventure brought about many amazing adventures together. In our minds the things we did were bigger than anything in the world even if it only consisted of having a long talk walking around the neighborhood late at night.

Our conversations consisted of everything a normal teenage guy would have on his mind but at the base of it all there was always that thirst for being a man of God. We both felt it and as we grew closer and more knowledgeable of the things of God that urge grew stronger. To do something for God's kingdom, break out of the mold that had been put on teenage guys, and be a true Godly young man were all things we longed for. The biggest thing we talked about besides God was our future. How we wanted to make the right decisions now so that our future would be that much more worth it for whoever we meet and interacted with.

The next biggest milestone in our friendship was Josh's move. I thought that was the hardest thing I would ever go through, boy was I wrong. I missed him so much but thanks to technology called a phone we conversed regularly and something strange happened. Our friendship grew more when we were apart then when we were together. We had limited time with each other so we talked more seriously and deeply. We started challenging each other and moving forward.

One day I was in the shower and Josh calls which wasn't shocking at all since we talked every other day for an hour or two. The shocking part was he said it couldn't wait until I was done with my shower.  So I got out of the shower and took the phone from my mom and he told me he was in the hospital at first I thought he was joking but quickly realized he wasn't. He had recently that day came inches away from death after he fell off a zip line and landed in a creek which caused him to have to have 4 staples and more stitches in his head. From then on Josh had a different view of life. Half the time it was more real and what it should have been but the other half was he became depressed. He was going through the same thing I am going through now. That our lives felt so controlled by sin and self-centeredness that we could never break out of it. Those conversations led into many good and complicated discussions.

Finally it came down to it. Josh had decided after much discussion with me and others to pursue his paramedic training. He almost opted out of it because he heard how hard it would be on his family but in the end he went with it. His decision lead him to go to ALERT basic training. The first miracle I had witnessed was a month before he had to leave. He still didn't have all the money he needed and we were talking on the phone. We were joking how God could provide the money in 30 mins or less if God wanted him to go. Later on in the conversation Josh was interrupted by his parents who said they had just found a package outside that they hadn't seen and it was for him. So he left for a moment, opened the packaged, and came back to the phone almost speechless. He asked how long had it been since we said God could provide the money. We calculated it and it came out to exactly 30 mins after we said God could provide it in 30 mins or less. We were both blown away and we said good by with wonder in our voices.

So with that Josh got his gear and left for ALERT. I missed him so much while he was gone. I wrote him four letters while he was gone with what we usually talked about when we were on the phone. The shocking part was when he came back I was the first person to see him besides his parents and he said we needed to talk. The whole time I thought I was keeping him informed about what was happening in my life in my letters. Instead I was just telling the surface things which wasn't what he was looking for but showed him my true heart. That night I will never forget. We were sitting in a parking lot and he all of a sudden looks at me and gives me a challenge. He told me that I was going down a path that slowly lead to death and I wasn't seeing the tell tale signs. He challenged me to stop my life and get rid of everything that was hindering my walk with God and run after him. In many words he put my life in perspective and showed me what I should do and then told me about how ALERT had changed him and what he had to do when he got home. Let me tell you to hear him verbally tear me down by showing me my sins hurt worse than anything I had felt before but he did it in love. If it were anyone else I probably wouldn't have listened but our friendship was so close that I knew he would only do it to help me even though it hurt him to do it. Lets say I didn't sleep well that night.

The last time I saw Josh was on his 19th birthday. That weekend was an awesome time full of ups, downs, and awesome adventures..... A month later my family was hosting a prayer meeting at our house when we received an email that said Josh had fallen in a river and was missing and was most likely dead. I have never cried so much over the next few days and weeks in my life. I have started and stopped this blog post so many times trying to paint a picture of who Josh really was and how much he meaned to me. I have come to the conclusion that I can't do it. A picture is worth a thousand words and it would take more than I can count of those to tell you how much he meant to me and paint a vivid picture of who he was.

Josh wasn't perfect and neither was I, thats why we got along so well. We both saw the importance of living a life dedicated to God and we both ran after it. Josh reached and attained his goal of getting closer to God. I on the other hand am left here with a hole in my heart and aching to know Christ like Josh knows him now.

So to Josh.... I miss you so much. It hurts so bad every time I think about you and the great talks and times we had together. No one can understand how bad it hurts and nobody can help me. I wish I was with you in heaven and my pain was taken away. Every time I think of you I cry like I am crying now and I don't think it will ever get any easier....

To God.... I want to follow you with my entire being. I don't want anything to get in my way. I want you to break my heart so your truth and healing can sink into it. I want to use the gifts you have given me to the greatest extent and become the man of God you want me to be. I want to know you as Josh knows you now and I want your love to overflow onto the people around me allowing me to be a witness for you.

To those reading this... What are you doing with your life? Are you wasting it with frivolous things of this world and hoping things will change on their own? Are you feeling lonely and empty? God is holding out his hand of mercy and help. Will you take the challenge I lay in front of you to take God's hand and pursue him with your entire being? Will you remove those things in life that hinder you from growing closer with God and get down to living life the way its meant to be lived?

Will you surrender your most precious dream whatever it may be and give it to God to do what he will with it?

So where do we go from here? I have to trust God that he will fill that gap of loneliness I feel from Josh's death and will work in my life to grow. I have to surrender my dreams and hopes with the assurance that it will be worth it.

One last thing. The day I went down for Josh's funeral I woke up really early and hiked Table Rock, the last hike I did with Josh, and let me tell you watching the sun come up over that ridge I experienced exactly what Josh did that he wrote about. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and not being able to share it with someone like Josh wrote about broke my heart right there. However there is consolation if God can create something that absolutely beautiful think of what he can do with your dreams.

Your bro in Christ,