Saturday, December 23, 2006

Greg Klaers, 1982 - 2006

Last night my old friend, Greg Klaers, died. We were good friends throughout middle school and high school, though we drifted apart after I left for college. Greg was stabbed while working as a bouncer at a bar.

Though it'd been a while since I spoke with Greg, or "Gordo" as we called him in high school, I did run into him briefly, about two years ago. I was at a movie, and after it finished he came bounding up, springing over seats to come chat with me. He was a big guy, but surprisingly nimble and light on his feet. It was a joy to watch him bounce about.

Greg fell on some hard times after high school, but from all indications he turned things around and everything had been going quite well for him over the past couple years.

I met Greg through our church youth group, where I really got to know the true Greg. He always seemed to have this infectious joy about him, a great smile and energy that he couldn't contain. I don't know how Greg's faith life has gone over these past few years, but I'm confident that God will welcome him home. In Matthew 18:2-4 the Bible says:

"He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

I believe that Greg Klaers was the kind of person Christ had in mind when he spoke these words. I have never met anyone who better embodied the beautiful innocence and joy of a child. Knowing Greg was seeing these Scriptures come to life, and everyone who knew him, whether they realized it or not, was closer to God just for the knowing.

Rest in Peace Gordo.

Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with everything you said Matt. He was such a beautiful person. It is so hard to believe that he was taken at such a young age. God bless his family and my his soul rest in peace.

Chunky said...

Matt - I found your blog while doing a web search for Gordo. I saw on the news that it happened but at that time they didn't say his name. Then Paula emailed me and said it was Greg. I cannot imagine it. Fr. Shawn once told me that God shows his greatest mercy during Christmas and it's at that time he may take souls into heaven close to the celebration of the birth of His Son. It's such a loss for anyone who knew him, he was a special kid.

Anonymous said...

He was actually born in 1982. September 18, 1982. That would make him 24.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Eep. I just put up a quick post and sadly didn't do a detailed fact check. I'll fix it.

M.J. said...

wow ... Matt I'm sorry to hear that ... I deal with this all the time .. wondering if I will every been really hurt or injuried in a fight. Being the Security Supervisor I've only been hit onces in the left jaw and he was jailed for 5 months.

My prayers are with you!

Erica said...

I'll tell you. Greg's memory will always be with me. He was a good friend and I enjoyed everything we did together. He was a great guy and the hardest thing is sitting in Time Out sometimes and hearing some ignorant ass start up a conversation about how that was the place that bouncer got stabbed. They talk so flippantly about it, like there is no possibility that any of his friends could be sitting there listening. He was more than just "that guy that got stabbed" and some people just don't get it. I can't wait to see him again and He has left a permanent place in my heart. Don't take your friends for granted, you never know how long you'll have them.