I've never been opposed to God's will. I know it certainly must occur at times where it is most difficult to swallow. It frustrates the human mind to no end when, say a person gets sick right before their first day at a new job. When you forget to get fresh milk, and the next morning, you have sour Cheerios. When you stay up late writing a paper, only to have your computer crash and lose it all. These things are, in their own way, clouds that rain on any one person's parade.
Yet we tie it all back to a saying that sounds all too cliche: "It's all in God's plan". Or, better yet, "There's a reason for it!" Ok, I can accept that. Not everyone can have a good day 7 days a week. But no one has yet been able to explain this to me: Justin Cope is dead.
And I don't mean any disrespect to Justin or to God when I type that. In fact, it feels too surreal. My dear friend from college, who just celebrated his first year of marriage and was rapidly approaching his 26th birthday, died in his sleep this past Monday night.
The obvious sentiment is to feel grief, send condolences, and move on. I feel I've done that to a certain degree. But I can't help but to sit in the silence of the deep evening and wonder: why him?
What was it that would even make this all even remotely make sense? Was it someone's wrong-doing? A mis-diagnosis from a doctor? Had Justin really already accomplished all that God had for him to do on this earth?
I really wanted to be there for the funeral today. Looking back, maybe it's better I wasn't. I'm not sure if I could've handled it. I've still yet to allow myself a full all-out grieving session. And surely it would've happened there, watching my friends for CSU grieving. Watching a young bride see her husband's casket adorned with flowers. Watching people I went to school with serve as pallbearers.
My God! He was only 25! He had a smile that would light up any room! He dedicated himself to his wife, to his classroom, and most importantly, to his God! So why? Why take him now?
Had I been in Charleston, I wouldn't know of a better tribute that I could give him but to gather the guys together and play one more game of basketball. That's the thing I'll remember most about Justin: the competitive spirit on the basketball court. And if there was any way for me to rewind it all, I would, just to play one more one-on-one game with him.
I guess I'll just have to wait to meet again in Heaven to play. And when you think of it that way, it's really not so bad after all.
Justin, we love you dearly, and miss you dearly. Thank God for the life He let you live on this earth and the impact you had. You blessed us all. Now we rejoice not in your passing, but in the fact that you're dwelling in the presence of the Holy Father. We love you, brother.