“It’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
When I was growing up, I had a friend named Josh. Our families were close friends and for the main part of my teenage years, we all spent a lot of time all together.
Josh was fun, funny and fun-loving.
He always knew how to make us all smile.
We grew up with Josh, spending time with him at church, in choir, in Sunday School and in Youth Group. We took countless trips to Mackinaw (because that is the token Michigan Youth Group trip) and trips over to Detroit to watch the Tigers.
During the summers, Josh and his brothers would come over to our house to hang out. We’d play poker or watch movies or the old 90s TV series, The Pretender. We’d make popcorn and brownies and all have a great time.
Right before my Winter Formal, Josh taught me how to dance. He was like the big brother that I’d always wanted. He was the kind of guy that always had an opinion about things and would let you know exactly what he thought. I knew I could talk to him about anything.
My sisters and I and Josh and his brothers all went to the same high school. Josh was very involved in a lot of different bands, choirs, sports and activities.
He was most known though, for his musical and instrumental talents and abilities. Josh played the piano beautifully and had a great voice too. My sisters and I would sing with him and his brothers for special music at a variety of churches. He loved putting together songs and writing his own parts as well.
We all loved Josh.
Because in life, there are those people that you meet and connect with and no matter where you go, you know you’ll always be who you are because of the impact that they made.
Josh was one of those make an impact people. He loved his life, his friends and his family. But most of all, he loved Jesus. Josh was very involved in our church and had a strong faith which he freely shared in all that he did.
I’m so thankful to have known Josh. I’m so thankful for the years that we had and for the many fun memories that we made. I remember the last time that I saw Josh. I was in my Junior year at Grace Bible College. He and his brothers were recording a CD there and so I got to see him that weekend. I didn’t think anything of it, because you don’t often stop to really take in the everyday moments and seldom realize that you should have until they are gone. The next week, I got an unexpected phone call telling me that Josh was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I drove to his home and sat and mourned with his family. Because it was my first loss of a loved one, that seemed just too soon.
And here I sit, fourteen years later (it’s been sixteen years now… I wrote this post two years ago, but wanted to share it again today). And I suppose I wanted to write today, because we all have those people that we feel we lost too soon. The ones we loved, but only for a short time because they were taken unexpectedly. And it’s so hard to understand why awesome people with beautiful lives would only have a short time here on earth.
I don’t have answers. But I do know that my friend Josh is doing just fine. He’s whole and happy and with Jesus because of his faith and because he trusted in Him. And I am thankful, because I know I’ll see Josh again.
Today, I mourn with Josh’s family. I’m saddened as they celebrate another anniversary of the loss of a son and a brother. My love and prayers go out to the Leffring family today. I’m so thankful that I got to share in Josh’s life. I know that his memory lives on and know that he made a difference in my life and in the lives of so many others.