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When a Light never fades

October 29, 2013

ryan lightSo it’s been over a year since I’ve written with an intent to publish anything.  I restarted my page feeling that an urge to write was just around the corner.  With the passing of a young man today I felt called to write as I wrapped my head around thoughts, feelings,  and  some reflections.

Ryan

Ryan as a Senior in High School when I first met him

We all know someone like Ryan, the young man that passed away today.  He was the guy that lit up a room when he walked in.  He had a smile for everyone that he greeted.  He treated everyone, young and old with heartfelt respect and appreciation.  Younger kids looked up to him, older people were inspired by him.  I met Ryan the first time a few months before I became the youth director at his church, FUMC Nacogdoches.  We instantly connected over our love for sports and especially soccer.  As it was revealed that I would be taking the position at his church, I daresay, his approval set the tone for acceptance from many of the other youth and help set the foundation for a successful season of relationships and ministry there in East Texas.  Ryan had an amazing gift, he was a natural born community builder.

Ryan was a runner, a district champion in the mile.  It was easy for him to be fast, just as it was easy for him to use his gifts as a community builder.  He carried the light that shined through his personality with him to college and was just coming of age when in a tragic automobile accident he suffered traumatic head injuries. For nearly four years the fight would last as he struggled with good days and bad days before succumbing to the long list of complications that came from the accident.  Ryan wouldn’t run again, until today..

During that time I focused a lot of my prayers on his younger brother, Scott.  Scott was in his junior year as this happened and dealing with the adjustments that were having to be made to take care of his brother..

Ryan and scott

Scott and Ryan after the accident

So this story leads to this one thing that I keep seeing throughout all of this..

Some would say that with his passing, a bright light has gone away. However the example of Ryan leads me to disagree with this.  The light that was given to Ryan that he used to “light up a room” has never gone away.  Nor will it ever go away.  His gift of being a community builder still came through as a community came together to support the family.  There of course was the church, friends, and people that formed.  One of my favorites was how someone new to the community that barely knew the family came into their lives to try and help with music therapy for Ryan.

And there were also the families, the community that lifted up Scott as he was forced to come of age sooner than he would have liked.  I watched as Scott handled everything with a quiet strength and grace that belied his age.  He became one of those young men that I would often think “Wow, if Schylor (my son) can be half the man he is someday…”

You see, this thing about light…

I’m no expert in science, but I remember what they say about energy.  Light is energy that we see.  And well, energy can’t be destroyed.  Now some will want to say that with Ryan’s passing, a light has gone away.  But I disagree.  I have seen that Ryan’s light, for those that were blessed enough to get to know him and his family, is a light that has been embraced and continues to inspire and light up others’ lives.  His light was energy for his brother to become the young man that he is.  His light is one that shines through me still as I work with other  young people that “light up rooms” when they walk in.

I’ve chosen to believe that his light won’t fade.  That it can be embraced by all of us.  That his story can shine like a beacon to all who wonder how grace and love work in this world.  It is in that way that we see the Creator’s miracle of energy as Ryan’s light will shine on forever in some way in this crazy world we live in.

Like I said, we all know someone that has moved on to a place where they can run again like Ryan.  They may be a grandfather, a co-worker, or a young man that lights up rooms.  I hope you have embraced their light as well.  May you feel their light continue to shine forever and ever in your story.  May their light continue to shine on how love and grace work in this world…

God’s Peace

(note, this story was written on October 28th and published on October 29th)

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One Comment
  1. Jacy Watson permalink

    Beautiful.

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