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?)
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.
Some days are good. Some days are surreal. Some days are sad.
But each day is another opportunity to for me to pick up the torch and carry on in the most importance race that Chad ever ran. The race he invited us to take part in. The race laid out before all of us.
So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.
Hebrews 12:1 (The Voice)
There is an addition to that cloud of witnesses, that army of cheerleaders that surrounds us. He’s covered in tats, wearing short shorts and possible sporting a very unique mustache. And he is screaming louder than anyone else as he cheers us on to victory.