“A man is dead…”
The attached image was taken through the windshield of a Nissan Altima. It had a push start engine, and it smelled of cigarettes. We had just finished getting coffee at Bandit in St. Petersburg, and were sitting outside trying to decide which ramen place we wanted to go to. He had never had a decent pour over until then; I hope he enjoyed it as much as he said he did.
Steven and I had just met the previous night for Christmas dinner. My Dads younger brother introduced us to his new girlfriend Renee when we arrived, and she told us her son Steven was going to be coming over soon. He brought the vegetable oil. Steven and I had hit it off, despite I assume mutual doubts of that occurring, for he brought a book along with him and his nintendo switch if I remember correctly. By the end of the night we had planned to hangout Thursday because he didn’t have work, and he told me we could go wherever I liked. I mentioned my enthusiasm for specialty coffee, and fairly recent discovery of how banging a bowl of good ramen was, and here we were plotting as he smoked his cigarette.
Eventually we ended up at a dive bar with a damn good bowl of ramen in front of us. Steven knew what was up. We had a lot of things in common, from similar high school band endeavors to you name it if you know me. Driving through St. Pete Tampa and even Davis Island, we hit every coffee shop I could think of. I took a couple of pictures around the towns, and genuinely had a great day hanging out with him. Sometimes it seems like I can count those on one hand, but I’m probably just not as present as I wish I was in the every day.
Flash forward to yesterday. My Dad gets home from work and immediately goes on a walk. He comes back quite quickly in disbelief to inform my mother and I Steven had died in a head on collision that very morning. My uncle had went and laid flowers at the site of the crash. After he broke the news to us he sent us the article online reviewing the event. There was a picture of his car, which had been torn in half, and not much but the front end remained.
I found myself weeping to the point of wretching, hugging the toilet and wondering what the hell was going on. The news site started off simply,”A man is dead…”, and although all I knew Steven for was Christmas dinner/evening an afternoon of coffee shop hopping, and a bowl of ramen, he was more than just “a man” to me. It is hard to imagine what it’s like for those who’ve had a lifetime of knowing someone well, or even several years, and the kind of absence that death creates. These kinds of things happen every day, and we don’t think much of it until it hits close to home.
My only comfort in anyones passing is their knowing Christ, or my knowing Christ. In Him death has lost its sting, and we have an assurance of the promises of God: a New Heaven, and New Earth (Revelation 21), New bodies (2 Corinthians 5), no more tears, or pain, and being with Him (Revelation 21). All things work together towards an end. We don’t have to understand every twist and turn in life. As long as we trust in God and look to Christ His Spirit will sustain us, and we will meet again.
I am not fond of saying goodbyes because I don’t believe in them.