In all honesty, we miss Chris deeply. Our human side aches and our fragile hearts have Chris shaped holes in them. In all these months of sharing our story here, I hope you know on whom Chris and I leaned for all our strength and for every step. This is not to say we have arrived at some kind of perfect life and we have all the answers to life’s painful questions, but rather to say… we were stretched in the process of learning how imperfect and fragile we are and how dependent we must be on a very capable, very loving God. The girls and I have not finished our journey. We have much to learn still. Chris left us with riches and treasures by the life he chose to live for Jesus.
Sometimes, when our loved ones are no longer by our sides, we turn them into someone they never were. It is easy to turn them into an icon and idolize them. We don’t look at the big picure and account for all the details. So, as I remember Chris, I want to stay true to the original man of God that he was. I think I knew Chris pretty well, his heart and the thoughts of his mind and passions were all his own. We can only catch a glimpse of the person, we know and love, by the way they conduct themselves, the way they love the Lord and others, the words they use and where and what they spend their time doing. As I paint this portrait in my mind, I want to be looking for colors and brushing the paint in such a way that his likeness comes through, as the same portrait of Chris in my heart.
Chris had a work ethic that was true throughout all his life. He was always willing and able to lend a hand for anyone. He taught his girls to value a job well done and to work hard. In time I hope they remember that. Chris was a leader and had a good sense of direction. He was a big picture guy and was always able to find someone to work on the details. Chris had a great sense of honor and respect, and was not afraid to voice his convictions and stick up for others when things were unjust. He was unpopular for that at times, but was willing to be so for God and the greater good. He loved his church and serving the family of God, who were a great comfort to him throughout our marriage and especially these past six months. He was greatly encouraged by each of you here as well. And always said he couldn’t believe how many prayed for and thought of him. Chris was a loving husband, we were not without our challenges along the way. Chris led well and we found ways to work through differences. He taught me to work on my confidence, to stand up for my beliefs, to raise our girls without fear of tomorrow, to hold tight to the good and let go of the bad, to try new things, to be thankful for each day, to be spontanious and have a plan, to go to God first not last, to make memories and to love Chinese food. He was a good father. He asked much of the girls and ingrained in them a good sense of right and wrong. I’d sometimes come upon he and one of the girls having a heated discussion about politics, values or controversial topics. He was always proud of the stands the girls were taking in their peer groups. I would credit that to his wisdom to be open to discuss such things. Chris was a good friend, my best friend and friend of many who came to know him. He was loyal, honest and spoke truth (even when we didn’t want to hear it). I am amazed how impacting his life was. I am blessed by the legacy he left behind for us all to ponder and learn from. Christ in Chris and the hope of glory someday. I see the evidence of… a life well lived.
This is a tribute I wrote last year in Chris’s honor. So in honor of one year in heaven, I share it here with you. One year a widow, a new kind of warrior and a grieving heart. God has been good this year. Has loved us and sent others into our lives to walk beside us. We have never been alone.