The loss of a friend

I just returned from a trip to NC and SC. I went to visit friends and family, but primarily to pay my respects at my friend’s grave. It’s so hard to believe it’s been 11 years. I wrote this piece last year on the 10 year anniversary of Justin’s death, and I wanted to share it again.

Ten years ago, I lost one of my best friends. Three of us, inseparable, “triplets from different mothers.” We knew each other like others rarely did. A quiet chemistry you had to experience to understand. Justin was, and is, one of my heroes. It’s amazing how a friendship forged over a few years will endure and continue to impact your life a decade later. I saw his devotion for Christ – I’d say he loved Him with a quiet fury. He was intense about his walk, but you really had to know him to understand the depth of his friendship with his Savior. Each year, I wonder and marvel why God chose to take him. I’ll go visit him this weekend, like I do ever year, and I’ll stand there surrounded by the hushed nature that he loved. I’ll ask the same questions I ask each year: why did you get taken? why not me? I looked up to you so much…you had so much to offer in life….is that why He chose you…. because He didn’t want to wait for your fellowship with Him to become perfect? I stand there and wait, but, just like in life, his answer will be silence. I can almost feel him looking at me with that wry smirk, shaking his head. Wondering at my impatient need for answers. Three of us. The thought never leaves me. If I hadn’t been gone that summer, there’s a 33% chance I would have been up there. So many times when I wished I could have traded places with him. But God’s plan is perfect. He knows the way that we take. When He’s done with us, we’ll come forth as gold. I’ll turn and leave, promising I’ll be back next year. He never responds. He doesn’t have to. We understand each other.

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