On April 4, 2015, it happened In a Moment. My nephew Todd Doub was out running with his family at a track in Martinsburg, WV. His son's track season was starting and in support of his son thought it would be a good idea for the family (Sharon, Skylar and Cameron) to enjoy an outing at the track. While running, Todd had, what is believed to have been, a brain aneurysm, collapsed and later died on Easter Sunday April 5. In a Moment he was gone. In one second, he was enjoying time with his family and in the very next, he was gone, never to regain consciousness in this earthly world. I was in Asheville enjoying time with Cindy's son and his wife when I got the texts and call. It was hard to process because I could not fathom that a healthy 49 year-old with a beautiful family and bright future, my sister's son, my nephew, a family member, a person rich in friends and God had left this world.
The ensuing Celebration of Life was one of the most heartfelt that I had ever experienced, a life truly lived and loved, not without challenges and trials, but an examined life in servitude to others. Our last long conversation was based on an examination of his priorities. Too often, we plod through life never examining a single thing about our own lives. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". It is a bold, unequivocal statement. Socrates' method of self-examination included an essential element that became known as "Socratic" dialogue. Dialoguing with a close friend, a spouse, a skilled psychotherapist or spiritual adviser helps reveal those blind spots we cannot see by ourselves. Santayana observed, "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it." Todd called me when examining his life, certainly a life worth living, as he was trying to balance the priorities of life; God, family, friends and career. I can't convey in this short post how celebrated his life was during this day, but in 3 hours, he lived again and will continue to touch others' lives whether they realize it or not. In his faith he is now seated with the Lord Jesus looking down upon us helping us examine our lives.
I celebrated Todd's life while running a marathon. I was already registered for the Raleigh Rock n Roll marathon taking place just two days after his Celebration of Life. In the many marathons I have run, I often saw tributes and memorials pinned to the shirts of runners. Todd's memorial verse is one that I have had on my desktop for years.
So, I pinned his memorial on the back of my shirt and in big letters wrote his name, TODD, on the front with his date of passing underneath and over my bib.but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
I wondered when I would hear his name called out for the very first time. It was about 7-8 miles into the marathon on the first difficult hill (there were many) that I heard "go Todd!" It was surreal because just when I needed a boost to get up that hill, it seemed like he was there. I could just hear him, "get your butt up that hill!" His name was called out another 5 times just on that hill alone. The course highlights Raleigh, running through downtown, nice residential neighborhoods, Hillsborough street past the NC State Bell Tower, Meredith College, NC State campus, Johnson lake and the green way trails. As the miles rolled by, I started hearing his name more. Of course, encouragement is always welcomed in the later miles of a marathon. One woman must have seen the date under his name, she called out, "Way to run for Todd!" The final stretch to the finish was a lot of "Yay Todd's and high fives.
There is a lot of time to think while running a marathon but in this marathon my thoughts were focused on those that had been lost early in life, Todd particularly, but is was also 35 years to the day of the marathon since losing my Dad at the age of 60 to cancer; a good high school friend at age 50; another high school friend just earlier in the same week Todd passed at age 53. Both friends from heart attacks.
Some people think that running is about extending life but in reality it is about living life up to that very moment, where, in a moment, you are gone. Todd lived his life up to that very moment. He examined, he adjusted, he lived and now he continues to live in us by the example he set. Nobody is perfect but we can all learn from others who have examined their lives as we examine ours.
Truly, rest in peace all of those who we have lost and will see again.
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26
|All glory and honor is Yours|