Thanks to the creepy immediacy of Facebook, last night I stumbled across the horrible news that an old friend from my first church internship, Ocean View Baptist Church in San Pedro, CA, passed away suddenly on Saturday. Miles Ghormley (and his wife Susan, daughter Emily, and son Jonathan (‘Juanathan’ in those silly days) hosted me throughout the summer of 2000 as I was a High School Intern for OVBC, and participated in many of the shenanigans that a young sophomore in college would come up with to entertain 16 year-olds bored out of their minds, yet without wheels or much freedom at all.
I chuckle remembering a warm summer evening in Rancho Palos Verdes where we zoomed down his hill in Juanathan’s mini motorbike, before those things quickly became illegal (Who’s old enough to remember that brief fad?). We laughed at the ridiculousness of my knees several feet above the bike itself as I simply tried to hold on for dear life.
I didn’t sleep well last night, unnerved by the reality that death should not be the final word in our stories. In fact, it most certainly is not, at least if we participate in the Grand Story God is telling, where life has the final say. But in the immediacy of an epic heart like Miles’ departing our reality, it sure feels that way.
I grieve with the Ghormley family this morning. I stand with them, reminded of these words I scribbled last year after participating in a sudden funeral in Soshanguve:
In fact, much of the weariness that I feel this evening stems from a deep sense of the injustice of death. God was devastatingly accurate in describing the reality of death once sin had crept into the world–truly, death is a curse through which we all carry its sting. The pronouncement given to Adam in the Garden has such a sense of finality to it–that mankind is now cursed to death and separation in all aspects–from life with God, to eternity spent in the midst of His creation, to the all-too-brief moments we have with those we love most deeply.