Last night I found out that my former youth pastor passed away. I hate the phrase "lost battle to cancer." He fought hard. When he was first diagnosed, it wasn't like he didn't try to get them to test for things before. That's what gets me mad. He went to the doctor a few times before diagnosis because he knew there was something wrong. I get it. Doctors get patients who are hypochondriacs but his PCP should know him and know that he is an extremely intelligent man and does not go to the doctor unless something is really wrong. Ugh. One of my biggest pet peeves.
Anywho. This is supposed to be about my youth pastor. So I have friends who are not Christian so they might not quite understand what this actually means to me. Or the gravity of the situation for me. This man basically shaped my faith. No, he did not "trick," "guilt," or "brainwash" me into the Christian faith. Rather he presented strong evidence, patience, and respect/love to a bratty teenager of how great and awesome God is. Also, when I was severely (basically clinically) depressed, he saved me. He showed me that life is more than just surviving and I could live and enjoy it if I saw the love of God and how truly good He is.
Honestly, he was so intelligent. He sacrificed what could have been a very lucrative medical career to deal with bratty, privileged teenagers and pre-teens and their inconsequential problems. He worked tirelessly to help students realize that they don't have to feel alone in the world and thus create a sense of community amongst us/them. Because of the fact that most of us are/were second generation Asians, we had a lot of issues with our parents and the lack of encouragement, outward expression of love, etc. etc. He honestly helped so many students feel loved and accepted and work through their issues. Some of course were tougher than others but he persisted.
He shaped my faith into something that could grow stronger.... even with undergrad looming. Every time we went to Mexico, my desire for international health grew stronger. He tried to boost my confidence and helped me to believe that I could more with my life than I thought. I'm not saying he's perfect because no one is and he was definitely rough around the edges, but he always tried to help students, even though they/we might have been stubborn to change.
I'm in a weird space. There's a mix of emotions... sadness because if I ever get married and have kids, they will only know him because I talk about him. Happiness because he's not suffering anymore and he's with God.. what he's always wanted (that's not morbid either. He just knew that this was temporary and heaven would be infinitely better than this). Sadness because he won't get to see me start my career. Happiness that he and CJ are together again. Overall? Relief. Relief that the suffering is over, his family was around, and that I got to say what I wanted to in the end. I was lucky.
JDSN, I am a better person because of you today. Thank you for everything you have done. Love you.