Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gone, But Never Forgotten

Kim and I leave tomorrow to go walk in the valley of the shadow of death with Silvia, Anthony and the rest of their family. I'm ready. I'm hurting, but ready.

I have since found out that David's sudden and tragic death was not due to a massive stroke as earlier reported. Dave's death was caused by a ruptured pancreas which resulted in internal bleeding. Here is a picture of Dave and his wife and son. I can't believe he is gone. His passing has impacted me deeply and I've spent the better part of the past 48 hours with tears loitering near or leaping from my eyes.

Kim and I are praying that God will use us to bring comfort to the family. We beseech your prayers.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Heaven's Huge Heart

Heaven just got a little, no make that a lot, more love. My dear friend Dave Milani finished the race last night. I received a call from a former student and forever brother, Seth Friebertshauser at 2:32am (CST) that Dave had suffered a massive stroke earlier in the evening and within hours. I have no words to describe the void this man will leave.

At over 6'8" tall, Dave towered most everyone and was one of the few guys whom I looked up to physically. If I had been taller than him, I still would have looked up to him spiritually. Dave and his sweet wife, Silvia were perhaps our best volunteers and closest friends during our time in California. While you could say that I discipled Dave in youth ministry, the real truth of the matter is that Dave taught me more about life than I taught him. This guy loved people. He was the definition of the word servant. And his devotion to his family was stronger than his grip (which was vice-like).

Kim had just written the Milanis a letter a week or so ago and Silvia had quickly responded with a card that we received this Thursday. Kim and told her how much we valued their friendship and how proud we were of their leadership of Uturn (the youth ministry at Redwood Church). Within minutes of hearing the shocking news, Kim called Silvia and expected to leave word on her voicemail that we were so sad and were praying without ceasing for her and Anthony. Silvia answered and Kim was able to cry with her for a while. Listening to them cry and contemplating the terrible reality that I won't get to see Dave this side of heaven was like a nightmare. I just kept hoping I would wake up and it would all be a bad dream. It wasn't. Dave's gone.

While I don't have time to share all that my heart is feeling about my good friend crossing into eternity, I do want to beg your prayers for Dave's family. Besides his wife, Dave's sole son, Anthony, witnessed his collapse and subsequent death and this will be nothing short of hell on earth for this junior high boy to deal with through out his life. Dave had watched his dad die of a heart attack when he was a teen and now history has cruelly dealt Anthony that hand.

I don't know why bad things happen to amazingly good people like the Milanis.

I do know that Dave and his huge heart are in home in heaven.

He is with his dad and with his Father.

And I can't wait to see him again.

Please pray for Silvia and Anthony.