i love this picture of my buddy Rob [who died just over a week ago from cancer] and everything it expresses – carefree, full of life, plus the symbolism of running off into the distance is not lost on me.
But i miss him a lot and it’s only been just over a week. Only? Yeah, something like that. And i think words are my processor so this is really for me, but you’re welcome to eavesdrop, especially if you knew my buddy.
BEST NICKNAME EVER
One of the traumas of my childhood, okay i’m being quite overexaggeratory there, it was definitely not a trauma, but possibly one of the closest things i faced to one in my mostly easy life growing up, was not having a nickname. All the cool kids had one. And i wanted to be cool.
i was trying to remember whether this happened before or after ‘Fish’ came along, which i know was 1993 as the name and then 1994 as the ‘Faithful In Serving Him’ acronym, because i know where i was when both of those took place. So i imagine this must have been after, but the idea of a nickname after years of not having one was huge.
i remember sitting in the car with my mate and having a long conversation and i don’t even know what spurred this moment on, but he turned to me and said, ‘You remind me of Paul’. Which i just realised is not a nickname at all, but a comparison, lame story brett, but it’s kinda like a nickname.
But back to Paul? The Apostle? Like one of the most famous guys in the Bible and the guy who pretty much wrote half of the New Testament? Hard for a guy not to get a big head after a comparison like that. But his explanation floored me, and this is still one of my favourite descriptions in life:
Passionate, yet tactless.
Ha ha, and it was so true then and it is [hopefully] slightly less true now, except maybe the passionate bit.
And the tactless bit.
But that remains one of my favourite Rob memories and i replay it often. To be fair, these days sometimes i don’t think i’m tactless enough…
THE MAN WHO WOULD PREACH
One story i was thinking about on Sunday, when i was sitting in the Mercy Vineyard church Rob and Nicky planted in Bergvliet, was one i don’t think anyone, except perhaps Nicky knew about.
i didn’t actually end up speaking on Sunday because i wanted to give his church people space to share their stories and by the time they were done so was the meeting… but story after story of how Rob was persistent and strong and didn’t like to let people do things for him, especially at the end despite his body being so weak.
On a number of occasions, often on a Saturday or as we got close to the weekend, Rob actually asked me to prepare a sermon because he was not sure if he was going to be strong enough to speak.
And so i did. And he never once used me. And probably not because he wasn’t feeling strong enough every time, but because he was Rob. A strength that was probably a lot greater than most of us ever knew.
THE VERY WORST OF ROB
One thing i hate about funerals is when people get up and say the nicest things about someone and it feels like they were a saint – especially if maybe you knew them in real life and they actually weren’t even close.
In fact, i told tbV i expect there to be an opportunity during my funeral for all my haters to have a chance to stand up and talk about what a chop i was at times [i doubt that will happen but i tried, folks!]
i thought about that when Rob’s funeral was happening and having known him for more than 15 years, the absolute worst thing i feel i can say about him is he was grumpy sometimes. i mean that. is. it.
Not funeral speak. True life speak. And maybe other people have some more dirt on my friend, but i really don’t and i think that is the hugest testimony to a man who people have said again and again was full of character and integrity. That is a lesson and a testimony we can all learn from. Because i know without a doubt that that could not be said about me. Well, it could be said that i was grumpy, but a lot more i mean.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
i miss my friend. That’s really about it. People keep asking me how i feel [and so i can’t even imagine what that must be for Nicky] and i really don’t know how to answer that question. i feel numb i guess. i feel that it’s completely sucky that my best mate and my go-to guy in so many areas of life is gone. Like this one – Rob is the guy who i would go to to help me get through something like this. And i can’t. So please just stop asking me. Simply say ‘It sucks’ or stick to the plan of throwing chocolate or games opportunities at me. i don’t need anyone to help me on this. i don’t think it’s meant to suddenly be alright. It sucks. And it will continue to.
But at the same time i know Rob would want us to move on somewhat and seize the crap out of life and be stirred by the memories of him to do just that. And so i will do that. But i think i still need a couple of days to just really miss my friend some more.
Love you buddy.
Plus a great end quote from a good friend of mine, Sammi:
“You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler