Goodbye, Eddie

EddieThis week, the week of Christmas, has amplified my own “season of our discomfort” in the journey of life for myself and my wife Debbie.  A sneak peak of what this week would be like came last Monday evening, 18 December, when I received a call that my Mother had fallen, again and was at the emergency room.  This time she had a fractured elbow and it would take surgery to repair it.  Surgery would be scheduled on Wednesday, 27 December.  But Sunday, Christmas Eve, I had terrible sinuses and a sore throat.  I had to preach at the morning worship service and again that evening for the Candlelight and Communion Service at 5:00 pm.  After the morning service, I went to one of those “doc in a box” places with my request:  a shot of  antibiotics, a shot of steroids, and one of those prednisone dose packs.  That’s always worked in the past.  But after a swab, I was informed I had the flu, Type A.  No candlelight and communion, no Christmas morning with all my family (first one I wasn’t present in 61 years).  No being there for my Mother’s surgery.

On Wednesday morning the surgeon was able to repair my Mother’s elbow, but we received some very sad news that same day.  Our good friend, my brother in Christ, Eddie Phillips, life on this earth ended far sooner than I had hoped or wanted.  When Eddie was diagnosed with cancer he started writing a blog he called My Journey Up The Mountain.  I re-blogged his posts and encouraged you, my readers, to take some time to read about Eddie’s journey, but also his deep faith and profound wisdom.

I’ve often heard it said that many people who are facing their own mortality, live life with a richness that, well, that we all need to embrace every moment of every day.  Eddie’s thoughts–thoughts that came from him facing terminal cancer, have touched and continue to touch my life now.  I miss Eddie.  I miss his writing.  I miss his friendship.  I miss his encouragement.  I miss seeing Jesus through Eddie, because in so much of my world, there is more “world” than “Jesus”.  I could always count on seeing Jesus in Eddie.

So, this Saturday, Debbie and I will go to the “Celebration of the Life of Eddie Phillips” and love on his wonderful wife and our friend, Sherrie and their children and family.  I prayed hard for Eddie’s healing; I mean REAL HARD.  And right now, I miss my friend, my encourager, my spiritual brother.  I need so much more of that wisdom and insights for my journey.  But his journey up the mountain is completed.

But can I be honest with all of you?  I do not like it.  I do not like what is happening around me.  I am crushed and broken beyond words.  Tonight I was about to be really angry with God, I mean out loud angry with God.  All week I’ve been feeling hurt, broken, and a ton of other junk (including angry with God–and some others).  And now Eddie is gone.  And just when I was about to shout it out at God in and with that anger–great anger, I remembered something.  I heard a question:  “Do you remember how you close out the graveside services of followers of Jesus?”  There wasn’t a human being in the room I was in.

I stopped and said, “Well, of course.  I walk up to the head of the casket, place my hand on it and say, ‘Jesus said I Am the Resurrection and the Life.’ And now in full confidence of the hope of the Risen Savior, we do not say goodbye, but until then my friend, until then.”  So, I came to terms with myself, and said goodbye to Eddie.  And on Saturday, I will look at his casket and remember that Jesus is The Resurrection and the Life.  And I will say, “Until then, Eddie, until that day.”  But I still miss you.

Oh, that each of us could live by what Eddie taught us in his brief season of writing.  I just now remembered a country song, “Live Like You Were Dying”.  It is just a song with lyrics and melody, but a powerful message.  My friend Eddie made it more than a song, it was his life, his faith and is his legacy.  Thanks Eddie, but I will miss you.


9 thoughts on “Goodbye, Eddie

  1. i KNOW IT IS DIFFICULT TO BE WITHOUT A GOOD FRIEND. And no, I don’t believe it makes it any better to say that I know that he’s in a better place. I say that because you wanted him home with friends and family.

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  2. Beautiful, Bro Randy. I think if we weren’t still in shock, many of us would be so angry that this amazing man could not stay with us. But I know that if he had a choice, he wouldn’t WANT to come back now — he is whole, he is healed, and he is with the One he loved more than anybody else. We wouldn’t want to come back either, no matter how many people we knew wanted us to. And it is just selfish to not praise God that Eddie is at Home and at rest. How will we go on without him? I think none of us who loved him will be truly without him. Eddie left tiny little pieces of his heart all over this world. I hope someday that somebody will say the same about me. Because that’s something else Eddie left…you just wanted to be a little like him.

    De Colores, Eddie ♡

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  3. I’m so sorry for your loss, Pastor Randy. It hurts to say goodbye.

    I’m sorry too for the flu, for your mom’s accident, for missing out on Christmas even. I’ll lift you up in prayer and ask the Lord to fill you with His peace and to take good care of your friend.

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  4. My brother, I pray that God is bringing healing and comfort to you. As you bring encouragement through your blog, I pray God will pour that back into you through the ministry of others. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability here. Many think that we as pastors do not experience such emotions or look up toward Heaven and said, “Why, Lord?” It is this level of transparency that God uses to help people who feel guilty for experiencing real emotions.

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