My high school friend, Michael Wright, lost his long battle with cancer today.
I lost touch with Michael after high school. I wouldn’t have said that even back then we were close friends. We kinda ran in different circles. I remember enjoying working with him on projects. He was always kind and laughed often. I liked him. This is all sounding like the sort of thing you’re supposed to say after someone has died. I don’t want to pretend that he and I were bosom buddies, nor that his passing has somehow retroactively made him into a perfect Christian. My death certainly won’t have that effect on my history.
What I do want to say is that Michael’s example has impacted me profoundly. I think most people, when faced with the kind of struggle and pain he has been called to endure, run away from the world and hide. The majority of us circle the wagons, gather only comfortable people around us, and retreat. Michael didn’t.
What he did instead was to share every painful step of his journey with the world. He told us on Facebook about his good days and his bad days. He let us see his struggle and wrestling. He was open and honest about the process of trusting God in the middle of the darkest of valleys. Some of us probably often wished he wouldn’t be so transparent, quite so real. There were moments where I found myself wanting to look away, to avert my eyes. It’s hard to fix your gaze upon brokenness and still find reasons to praise. We want our world neatly packaged, and Michael kept tearing the wrapping paper off and showing us reality.
I’m thankful to him for that. I’m thankful for the lesson on turning to face the chaos and pain, and trusting that the One Who has called me will guide me safely through the storm. He has successfully guided Michael home. It gives me hope that He’s doing the same for me.