A Life Well-Lived

I wrote yesterday about the importance of showing up. I’ve thought a lot the past month about how important it is to be present with others simply because I saw one person do it exceptionally well.  Someone who showed up in the lives of others – even when he was miles away.  If there was an Olympic event for being present with others, Chad Rogers would have won gold and broke records doing it. And then he would have made all of us come up and stand with him on that little box to receive our medal together.  The dude excelled at the ministry of presence and I, along with hundreds of others, benefitted greatly from it. It helped that Chad was incredibly extroverted and really, really LOVED being with people.  But other extroverts love being with people, too, and don’t make half the impact Chad did.

The difference with Chad was that he was not only with you but FOR you. There is a huge difference.

Nearly every testimony at the celebration of his life centered on this truth. Some were funny, some were serious but all gave witness to the fact that Chad loved well and he loved with intentionality. He showed up in our lives because he had a deep love for us that came from his beautiful heart and from his passionate love for Jesus.  I rarely had an interaction with Chad that didn’t include some encouraging or enthusiastic words of affirmation. As Chris Abel said so well at the celebration – Chad was a cheerleader and he was passionate about whatever you were passionate about.  Mad about crocheting? Chad would have been all over that – using with pride every “pot-holder-that-was-suppose-to-be-a-scarf” that you made. (Oh, wait – is that just me?)

Chad and his son.

Chad and his son.

The last tweet I had from Chad three days before his death was typical Chad:

Chad was always encouraging me about writing because he knew it was something I enjoyed and a skill I wanted to develop. He referred to me as his favorite local author. Honestly, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know any other local “authors”.  But he made me feel like I was his favorite. And like I was an actual author.  That was his gift. His gold-winning skill – to make you believe in yourself as much as he believed in you. Chad wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t a saint and he’d be the first to admit his imperfections. But what he got wrong paled in comparison to what he got right. And none of his deeds – neither the good nor the bad – could hold a light to the radiance of Christ that was in him.  It was that Light – the Jesus in Chad – that we were drawn to like moths to a flame. Jesus shown bright and continues to shine from Chad because Chad chose to be a beacon that showed us the way Home.

A day doesn’t go by without a thought about Chad. Literally. 

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Rafting Ruminations

On Saturday I did something that surprised some people who know me well. I went rafting. For a second time.

The first time was over 15 years ago and it didn’t go very well. I wrote about it once but to sum things up, I nearly drowned when my raft flipped in some rapids on the Snake River in Wyoming and I got trapped under the raft, unable to surface to get air. As you can tell, I survived. OR there is internet in heaven. Something that must be true based on the amount of joy we feel when we find free wireless. Heaven must be one big hotspot.

Some of our crew rafting on the Clear Creek.

Some of our crew rafting on the Clear Creek in Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Anyway, I made a vow to eventually get back in the boat and I did – literally. The time came on Saturday with my youth group in Colorado on the Clear Creek in Idaho Springs. The fact that 43 people whom I love dearly were going meant I couldn’t stay behind. I needed to be with them. I’ll be honest. Part of my thinking was the captain must go down with the ship. Morbid thought, I know, but if something was going to happen, I could never live with myself if I was on the shore or on the bus in a fetal position sucking my thumb. The reality was I knew although there are always risks, this was a safe, beginner CREEK and odds were very slim that anything serious would happen.

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Scooting on Your Backside

This isn't the cave I explored. It is the Onondaga Cave in Leasburg, Missouri. Another fine MO cave.

This isn’t the cave I explored. It is the Onondaga Cave in Leasburg, Missouri. Another fine MO cave.

Missouri is known for caves. Seriously. We are best known as the “Show-Me State” but we are also known as “The Cave State”. There are over 6,400 known caves in MO and we have a Missouri Cave Association. There is also this beautiful six-page brochure. You are welcome.

Caves are buried treasures. Underneath the earth are these huge caverns of beauty and life. You can walk over a hill and never know that underneath is a natural room grander than any cathedral. I love that. Caves are like the introverts of nature. There is a ton of depth and beauty under the surface. It is worth exploring. Both caves and introverts.

When I was in college, I went spelunking (cave exploring) with a small group of college friends. We were in southwest Missouri (the mother load of caves) maybe an hour from Bolivar, MO, but that is all I could tell you. We drove out to a large field area with a creek bed near by. We hiked down the creek bed for a while and then stopped. On the left was a field and on the right was a steep embankment. I didn’t see a cave.

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