Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers,
I have some sad news that I feel like sharing with my friends in the Network.
A friend of mine from high school died less than a week ago. Though I didn’t know him very well, I feel obligated to write a little bit about Jim and how his death is hitting me. It’s strange; I had received a message from him only a week before he had died, stating that he planned to show up at my 21st birthday party to say hello to many old friends. We never saw him that night.
Trying to process Jim’s death is very hard right now. I have so many things to look forward to this week---my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are in town and I get to spend time with them, I have plans to go to Summerfest and meet up with friends I have not seen in a while, and I am preparing to spend an entire month in England and France!
But Jim’s death is making me feel very uncomfortable and uneasy inside. I don’t quite know why this is---maybe it is because he had messaged me only a week before his passing---maybe it is because this is the first time that someone my age who I actually knew has died.
Jim was always so incredibly warm and outgoing to me. I remember how musical he was (he played percussion in the high school band), how gifted he was. I remember Jim being really witty, with a fun, kind of cynical sense of humour, but a warm heart at the core. I miss Jim even though I didn’t know him very well and I hadn’t seen him really since ending high school.
I think part of this sadness, to put it in a theological light (which helps me cope with the situation), is that with Jim’s passing away, we lose a member of the body of Christ, a piece of our humanity. I don’t recall Jim’s religious beliefs---and whatever they were, that is not important for this reflection. What is important is that Jim did bring light to many people’s lives, even though he himself may have had to struggle with some dark times (just as we all have to).
Jim’s passing away has put me in a funk since I heard about it---a kind of funk that comes with a shocking revelation. But here is another shocking revelation---I, we, may just have an opportunity to fully reconnect in the eternal banquet. I pray for Jim and for his family today as they cope with the painful loss of a son at such a young age.
I pray that all of Jim's beloved have the strength and the courage to continue their own life journey without Jim (though he may walk with them in spirit). I pray that they cope in productive ways---ways that pay tribute to the creativity and the beauty that rested inside of Jim before he began his rest in peace.
I pray God that you look after Jim in whatever capacity that may be---for the Kingdom is a mystery both here on earth as well as in heaven. Whatever or wherever or however Jim may be, may he be free to love and be loved. May Jim be fully healed and alive in the Spirit of God. I can still picture his full beard (he could grow one by the age of 17!), his John Lennon glasses, and his soothing smile.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and the world may live as one" (John Lennon, "Imagine" lyrics).
I hope someday we all may be joined in an everlasting life.
Right now, may our friend Jim Russell rest in peace.
peace and blessings.
your friend bob.