Photo Credit: Ryan Genereaux
Nothing makes you ponder life more than death. Especially the unexpected kind. The kind in which you wake up to greet the morning and learn your friend didn’t. Two weeks ago today I was gifted with a surprise visit from Matthew, a University friend. I didn’t know then that it would be our last visit for awhile. I didn’t know that when he went to sleep last Saturday night, he wouldn’t wake up Sunday morning. You don’t expect that.
I haven’t slept much this week because moments like that make you think about how quickly things can change. But what has kept me awake the most has been the question, “When you go sleep tonight, would it be okay if you didn’t wake up in the morning?” My mind was too quick to answer, “No.” And I’ve spent the last six days wondering why? Why wouldn’t it be okay? If I believe in God to the fullest and if I know eternity rests beyond the broken walls of this earth, why wouldn’t I be okay that? Then I realized, I still have family that doesn’t know the Lord. There are people who I haven’t forgiven and people I have not loved well. And I have wondered, do they really know how I care for them?
You see, Matthew was one of those people that you knew where you stood with him. You knew he strived to be a good husband and brother and son and friend. And if you were loved by him, you knew that too. Because Matthew was real and wasn’t afraid to be who he knew he was created to be. And knowing all of that, makes it easier to rejoice in the fact that he is now in such a rich and whole place with the Father who created him.
I count it a privilege to have known Matt. Both he and his wife and I had coffee often together at University. I learned much from them. I learned much from him. And I love that even after his passing, he is still teaching his friends what it is to live, what it is to love, and what it is to laugh.
His cat spent a day at the Wesleyan headquarters this week. If Matt were here, he would laugh much at that. A GoFundMe page was started to help raise funds for Gabe (his wife) to pay for what insurance doesn’t cover. Nearly 12,000 dollars has already been raised. If Matt were here, he would rejoice and say, “God is amazing.” Because God is. And though Matt will be deeply missed by many friends and his family, there is peace in knowing he left behind such a deep legacy. He was follower of Jesus and people knew that.
I am currently sitting in the living room of what is to be my new home. When Matt and I visited a couple weeks ago, I was picking up new pieces of furniture. He was the first of many Kingswood friends to rejoice with me in this new season. To celebrate what God had done and continues to do in my life. And as I sit here in this house looking at that furniture, I think of Matt. And I think I will every time I look at it because it reminds me to rejoice in what God has done. It reminds me to take in the moments. Truly, take them in. It reminds me to love well and laugh much. It reminds to be steady and steadfast because that was who Matt was and that is who God is.
In the days to come, be reminded to pray for those still grieving. Matt was only 25 and leaves behind a wife who now has to learn a new normal. He leaves behind a brother and sister who greatly miss their goofball of a brother. And he leaves behind a mother and father who didn’t expect to bury their son. But in the days to come, be reminded to live like Jesus and share His love. That is our church’s motto and that is the legacy Matthew Pass leaves behind.
If you would like to support Gabe you can do so by clicking on the following link https://www.gofundme.com/279utv8