I went to a beautiful funeral today. A bittersweet good bye for a beautiful soul. My eyes well up with tears everytime I think about it. It was a sad day, as funerals usually are. Of course there was a lot to celebrate, as Ryan lived a short, but purposeful life full of love. But the church was still full of sadness because all of us who knew Ryan are profoundly sad not to have him in our lives anymore, and our hearts break for his small children who have to lose their daddy.
Ryan’s life was inspiring and I don’t feel like I can let this opportunity go by without writing about how he touched me (and so many others). I didn’t know Ryan really well, other than the fact that I have gone to church with him and his sweet family for the past 8 years or so. When I first met Ryan he was newly married to Kami and we welcomed them into our little church family where they quickly became a part of a cherished group of people who struggle through life together, loving God, coming together weekly to worship Him through all the trials and celebrations. And Ryan and his family have certainly had more than their share of trials, dealing with his terminal illness every day. We all knew from the start that Ryan was not expected to live a long life, in fact, I think he outlived most predictions. And I think I can safely speak for everyone that knew him when I say that we are grateful for all those extra years he squeezed out of life, even though it meant carrying oxygen with him everywhere and making so many trips in and out of hospitals for treatments. It wasn’t an easy life, but Ryan wasn’t one to dwell on the difficulties. He lived each day with the full knowledge that his life was short and he strived to make the most of his time. Even when things were really hard, which they often were, he kept going, singing his songs and loving his family and friends. What a gift his life was! His funeral was the only one I’ve ever attended where I was given a parting gift of a CD with his music, and his songs truly are a gift. He was a talented musician who wrote many beautiful songs and we were often blessed with his gifts as he led worship at church so many times over the years.
Thank you for sharing your life with us, Ryan. Thank you for inspiring us to love God and live life with a grateful heart. May Jesus be near.