Friday, October 30, 2009

Losing Touch

During my youth ministry career I had the good fortune to work with many talented actors.  Curt Cloninger, CPR, the Skit Guys and Ted & Lee all performed at churches I served at some point in time.  In each instance these creative men allowed God to use them to help us laugh and learn.  Some of my favorite teaching points over the years came from their work.

Last night I was looking at You Tube, searching for clips from some of these artists, when I discovered terrible news.  Lee Eshleman of Ted & Lee (on the right) died in May of 2007- and I had no idea.  Here was a man I had quoted often; a man I had hired to come teach through drama at our church; a man I had eaten dinner with at Applebee's.  This was a man who had taken a nap on the couch in my home.  It turns out he was also a man who had dealt with depression his entire life and in the end could not live with the pain.  But I didn't know that, or that he had died.  Due to various circumstances, I had lost touch with Lee...and now he is gone, and I never even knew.  My heart was filled with sorrow for his spouse and three children, and for Ted.  I immediately began to run my minds' video clips of Lee, as Andrew the Disciple in their Fisheyes program; as the Angel Gabriel and as Solomon in The Creation Chronicles; and as a total wild man in The Squirrel Family Reunion.  I smiled as I remembered, and I felt sad for the loss.  A loss I had missed by more that two years.  Two very difficult years for me.

I began to wonder what else I had missed.  Marilyn and my Mom came home from Will's band performance at the football game and told me of a dear family friend who had gotten divorced in the past year- and we had no idea.  My mind became a blur of thought, wondering who else we had lost, who else had been through tragedy during these past couple of years while I have been so focused on ME.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed, feeling like somehow I had failed these friends...and God only knows who else.

But that's the whole point, isn't it?  God knows!  I might like to believe I could have helped Lee or saved that marriage, when the fact is I could not have done anything- not without God.  But God can do everything without me!  God is present when we are together and when we are apart.  God loves us when the people around us can't or don't.  Life does not always turn out the way I want it to, but you know what?  It's not about me- it's all about Jesus!  He is present in the storm; only He can calm the raging waters. 

I know this post is a bit scattered, but so is life.  I pray today that God will make me a better husband, a better father and a better friend so that I may be of better service to Him in the name of Jesus.  I will miss Lee.  My prayers are with our friend and her new life.  Treasure the people in your life- let them know Jesus loves them, and so do you.  And for all of my friends with whom I have fallen out of touch these last years, I leave you with the words of the patron saint of Florida, Jimmy Buffet:  "If the phone doesn't's me..."

Because of Jesus,

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