In Memory of a Dear Friend

joe —  Sun 30-Jan-11

Dear Friends,

I write this column with a very heavy heart as yesterday I learned that the most gentle, kindest friend I have ever known took his life.

Candle.jpgI can’t pretend to comprehend how such a thing could happen to such an incredibly smart man except to note that life is beyond the grasp of intelligence.

I can’t comprehend how someone so kind to life could have life be so unkind to him except to discover that the Beatles were wrong and that we aren’t guaranteed to receive all that we give.

I can’t comprehend how someone that sought with all that he was to rediscover his faith would ultimately lose faith in himself.

Life cannot be described any better than what you believe in. We all believe in something, even if it is that life has no meaning. It is in that belief that forms all of our hopes or anguish.

My friend struggled with his Christian faith with the same story that was written by many of us. He grew up in a Christian home and as he got older discovered that the Christian story is very difficult to grasp. It was much easier to accept the science than the faith. However as he got older he realized that the science left him unfulfilled as well and sought to rediscover what he left behind.

We had met privately for a couple of years to have deep discussions about how hard it is to believe. When he joined our bible study at work I saw him start to put the pieces of a puzzle together. Slowly, very slowly things started to fit.

Then yesterday came.

How is it possible that a God who loves us very much would allow someone to take their life at a point that they were starting to reconnect?

I do not have that answer and to pretend so would put me in a stratosphere occupied by the greatest theologians to walk this fair planet. But I do have a worldview that allows me to cope with it.

God has a plan for us; but he also gave us free will. He wants us to love him with all of our heart but with a love that can only come freely from within us. Unfortunately in that free will is the chance that we may choose our own plan rather than the one he has for us.

It is kind of ironic that we were given all of this free will yet when the world comes to bear on us with all of its weight we appear not to have any options in our choice.

It is one of the greatest evils in the world that makes us believe we do not have options.

That may not be the answer that you would get from the greatest theologians, your pastor, or even a highly educated Christian friend, but it is where I am now. For like my friend I am in a constant state of trying to tune my beliefs and become stronger tomorrow than today.

I just wish he would have believed that he still had a choice and that he could have become stronger today than yesterday.

God bless you my friend. This world has lost a great man.
Bryan Williams copy.jpg

Donations on behalf of Bryan Williams can be made to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or World Vision.