Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the eternal homecoming of an awesome guy, Chad Rogers. Chad was a friend of mine, a friend of thousands, a beloved son, dad, husband, brother, nephew . . . .
I always knew Chad was well-loved and the outpouring of postings on the anniversary of his death was just another reminder of Chad’s beautiful legacy. Like me, the guy wasn’t perfect and Chad was the first to own this – which is probably one of the big reasons so many of us loved him. He was real.
One of the things I love about social media is the on-going tributes that are shared when someone loved dies. It is a virtual support group. I thought about how important it was for folks to post expressions of love, funny stories, and lasting lessons about Chad. I rejoiced at what comfort it must be to Chad’s dear family to know that Chad continues to live in so many people and that they are not alone in their grief and their memories. I hope Chad’s Facebook profile is around for a long time so that his young son can one day read it and find comfort in how loved his dad was and how many of Chad’s pictures and status updates were about his son, Matthew Job.
I also grieved a little that Chad did not get to hear all of the ways he mattered to us. All the ways that he inspired us or taught us. All the ways that he made us laugh and reminded us to enjoy the best parts of life – relationships with God and with others. Maybe you were better than me about telling Chad what he meant to you. In fact, I’m sure you were. My affirmations were held until he was gone and I regret that.
There is no point living in the land of regret. That valley is beneficial only for passing through – no camping allowed. Once on the other side, we must move forward with the wisdom of lessons learned and redeem the journey.
The reminder and challenge to me are to not wait until someone is gone to tell them how much they mean to me or how they have impacted me. I want them to be able to hear it and be blessed by it in the now. Such a gift should never be withheld.
I know Chad would be totally stoked about this being a lesson learned from his death. He always challenged us to be awesome. I am going to be very intentional about telling people just how awesome they are sooner rather than later. If you have awesome people in your life, tell them.