Death Comes For Us All — a tribute to Nelson

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Rochester visit — July 12, 2022

Death comes for us all… 

This is as far as I have seemed to be able to get on this topic this week. 

Death comes for us all.

Last week I wrote about travel as the space between birth and death… 

(haven’t posted that one yet —- but it’s some good thoughts and fitting….)

Travel — the space between heaven and earth. 

I like to think that we all came from heaven in one since or another. 

Through the messy birth canal of life we arrive, somewhat perfect. 

I remember my daughter in those first few hours, alive in this world. 

Honestly it was traumatizing and I was more concerned with the wellbeing and aliveness of my wife to realize that there was this new little life in the world.  In my world. Once I was assured that my wife was ok and the emergency c-section was a success my attention shifted to this new little life in my world…

In the world. 

Traveling from birth to death. 

The in-between.  

In the hear and now

Vs the there and then.  

We all arrive into this world. 

We all arrive into different realities. 

Non perfect realities by any means. 

We are mearly traveling through. 

A few weeks, ok months ago I got to see an old friend who was battling for his life. 

He left everything to be at the Mayo Clinic to battle a cancer diagnosis so that he could fight to be with his wife and baby.  When I found that he was only a few hours away, I had to try and visit.  These things are tricky and would it have been easier to just not, but I am so grateful I did.  My mom and I made the journey and honestly didn’t even know if we would even be able to see him, do to the sickness, the hospital visits, the covid, etc…. but we did. We connected. He sat on the pouch and we caught up on life.  His marriage, baby, the ministry he’d been doing and their quick change of location in order to fight this cancer diagnosis. 

Nelson was a traveler. One who packed light and added value wherever he found himself.  He was a servant. Willing to give and desiring to give. Not needing any glory or praise… it’s like he was already past that.  Maybe in his early life before I knew him he was into that, but my guess is probably not. 

He had already lived by the time I met him back in 2009/10ish in New Zealand.  He was a friend of a friend and we needed another staff member for our non-profit YWAM Around the World program.  He was in transition and he was willing.  I remember he was a bit hesitant on the phone if he really wanted to jump back into all that YWAM stuff and I also remember connecting with him on that first phone call and knowing he would be a good fit.  I think I am honestly good at intuitively knowing about people some times and with Nelson I was right.  

When things were hard in the day to day I would find Nelson standing next to me, as I was attempting to lead a group of people and a program that was beyond me, he would stand next to me and “survey the land” with me. Basically just look at the happenings, see the things that needed to get done and then in the most humble way volunteer to just do that thing.  Other young leaders would just come and complain about something that needed to get done and then there was Nelson, over there just doing the things and helping everyone move forward with a smile. 

I heard that after he passed they made a stamp of his hands —- he was one who was not afraid to get his hands dirty and do the work.  I think he like working with my hands.  I can relate, my dad was the same way. And it seems like less and less people these days work with their hands (typing on a keyboard, like I am now, dose not quite quality) 

Rochester visit — July 12, 2022

Death comes for us all. 

I want to be like Nelson. 

I want to be like the guy you want to have around.  The one who would quietly leave without making a fuss —- a good Irish goodbye. 

Well SunnyMan — we are here to celebrate you.

To Honor you. 

To let your young son know who his daddy was and that he comes from good jeans. 

Things may suck for you little man not having your dad around. 

But know that he loved you with all he had. 

It sucks that he is gone.  

I don’t understand death. 

Maybe I do. 

Maybe I just don’t understand living in the wake of loss. 

Living without those who pass. 

Heaven is glorious and those who jump to its eternal peace miss us no more. 

God didn’t “need” Nelson in heaven. 

God didn’t take him for some grand reason. 

Fuck — people say the weirdest things in the wake of death — we try to make it ok and make people fell ok. But it is ok not to be ok.  That is honestly the best response. To feel. 

To feel pain.

To feel loss.

To suffer. 

In Jewish tradition we “sit shiver” and just cry and weep and moan.  In some places you can even hire people to wale (so I’ve heard).

Acknowledge the hard. 

Feel it.

Move forward with this gift of life anyway. 

Nelson, you are missed. Thank you for your life. I’m bummed we didn’t get to share more of it. 

Grace and peace my friend. Rest easy. Know that the sun is still shining on us down here and your people will be taken care of by the Father who always comes through. 

Well done good and faithful servant, well done. You ran well. 

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