by Mike Friesen
Mike is a frequent guest blogger and one of my good friends. You can follow him on twitter here.
Nearly three years ago, a kid that I mentored passed away at the age of nineteen. I loved him deeply. We met weekly; sometimes we’d get together several times a week to talk about life. Many times this would consist of bad mouthing all of the bad music in the world. Other times it would be him opening up, something he struggled with doing with other people, about the struggles of life. St. Augustine said that a friend is someone who knows everything about you and still loves you. He was my friend. He was like the little brother I never had.
Every day on my drive to work, I drive by the coffee shop that we used to hang out at and the house where he lived. Most times I drive by it and it has little effect on me. Some days though, a truck of grief hits me. Some wounds in life never fully heal; we just get better at continuing in our lives.
My friend was full of life. He was an encouraging guy, full of energy. He cared about his friends. He died tragically. But, when he died, many people showed up to his funeral. People were reunited over his death. His death also spurred on a bunch of charity work and a whole lot of people to turn their lives around. This was the life of Jesus within him.
When Jesus died, there was grief, but his death brought new life to the people around him: the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s sustaining life in the world. When my friend died, because of God’s Spirit within him, like the Spirit within Christ, his death was not final, his life still carries on. His life keeps on giving the gift of life that he was. Even though I still feel pain from his death, the Spirit within his life is still reaching out to me, offering that same gift of life he possessed when he was alive.