I was one among many in Randy’s life; many who held him in high regard, as a friend, brother in Christ, and example of servant leadership. He was one among few in mine.
Randy had such a kind, warm, gentle, calm, settled way about him. To be with him was to slow down, breath more easily and deeply. Settled within himself and attuned to you, he would lean in and “see” and “speak” words of affirmation and value.
As a Christian leader and particularly a man, I felt esteemed. He never made it weird to be friends and male and female. I suspect his deep love and respect for Susan Heeren Reese—a strong and capable woman—and their solid marriage led to his natural way of being with other female friends. When we would meet in person or Skype, he would take notes as if what I had to say was important to him and he wanted to think more about it. I can’t think of another friend who’s ever taken notes when I speak.
He had a great sense of humor and his own colloquial ways of saying things that made you laugh—turns of phrase that made him so memorable; “neck of the woods,” “grind my coffee beans,” “particularizing,” and “turd in a punch bowl,” to name a few.
Randy modeled how to ask good questions; real and important questions. As I was speaking on Sunday at our church, promoting The Journey, a curriculum that Randy and his colleague, Rob Loane wrote, I turned to our community at the end and a question automatically surfaced in me; “What do you find yourself thinking about right now?” A question Randy taught me to ask of myself and others.
As I grieve, I keep returning to memories of Randy and to the memory of his death. I touch it, as if to see whether it is still real, still true. I take in grief a sip at a time, the cup too full, too overwhelming, too much to drink any other way.
I am so very grateful to be one among many who count having known Randy an immense blessing, one of the great blessings of life. Only God could have orchestrated our meeting—a guy who lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and me who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. And only God knows when we will meet again.
It occurs to me right now that even in Randy’s death, he is still speaking to me, to all of us. “Don’t waste a day of your life,” he says. I believe he speaks with authority.