I wrote the other day about how God often uses the traumas, major issues, and disappointments in our lives to strip us of anything and everything that could hinder us from being all that we are meant to be in Christ. One thing that has always gotten under my skin is the fact that when someone passes away a sort of sainting of that person occurs because, generally in our culture, we do not speak ill of the dead. I’m not sure how or why this occurs. Those who were close to that person obviously knew that he or she had faults so I don’t understand why we feel the need to act like they didn’t have any. I loved it recently at my grandmother’s funeral when the pastor said at her grave side burial, “Now we recognize that Sally was not a perfect person, she was a sinner just like the rest of us, saved by grace and in need of a Savior.” I turned to Ryan and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the possibility mentioned at a funeral that the person wasn’t perfect.” It shocked me a bit, and I thought it was absolutely beautiful and refreshing to hear that. Now, my late husband would have completely scoffed at the idea of anyone thinking he was perfect. He was a bit like the apostle Peter, he had a sort of rough exterior, a solid faith, and a heart that really wanted to serve his Savior but often his shortcomings, his mouth, and his pride would get in the way. He loved Super Heroes, all of them, Spiderman, the Hulk, Iron Man, and he actually referred to himself as Superman on more than one occasion, but his favorite Super Hero was Batman because, as he would explain to anyone who asked, Batman was the only real human who by sheer will and determination became a Super Hero. Jason was incredibly strength and endurance driven. He was a tennis player who almost broke through to the professional ranks, and he would brag to anyone who asked about his 120 MPH serve. He was remarkably strong for not having the natural build of someone who should have had a lot of strength. He had to work twice as hard as most men to obtain the amount of strength and muscle that came easily to the majority. He used most of his down time to research the latest and greatest improvements for muscle strength, agility, and endurance. He spent any extra money he had on protein replenishment drinks, mixes, or powders, and he could most often be found in either a gym or on the tennis courts. He loved what the human body was capable of achieving and above all else he loved watching his own body exceed all limitations. In 2007 this Superman’s strength and muscle began to deteriorate without any plausible explanation offered by the medical community. When it was discovered that it was a brain tumor to blame it was immediately taken out and about two weeks later he was back in the gym willing his body and his muscles to realign and cooperate with his will. Fast forward to a year later, the tumor returned, his strength decreased, and his body really took a beating this time around with multiple chemos, radiations, and poisons. His muscle tone was depleted down to that of an old man, his vision started to wane, his mental capacity strained and his strength that of a teenage boy but still, 6 weeks before he went to his eternal home, it was said that he was doing pull-ups in the gym. In his final weeks when he was completely bedridden and wiped entirely clean of one of the few things that brought him true joy – the pride that came with being the strongest, being the fastest, and having the most endurance, he would often be heard saying, “I've prayed so many times that something good will come of all of this and that God would be glorified.” He was stripped of all of his earthly pride to be all that God called him to be, to run his race by emptying himself of who he was to bring glory to his King. In return, I bet, he had a pretty buff Batman body waiting for him beyond the veil.
Just keep livin!
In memory of Jason Crisman June 2,1977-August 24, 2010