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. http://www.startribune.com/467/story/893424.html
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