For those of you I’m connected with on social media you’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago I asked your prayers for Andrew Baker, a young man who had suffered a cardiac arrest as he was coming to the finish line of a marathon. Early Friday morning I learned of Andrew’s death.
Andrew was a seemingly healthy, very active 26 years old. In fact, Andrew was the epitome of active. When I first met preteen Andrew he was a bouncing-off-the-wall kid at Kanuga Conference Center. Andrew was perpetual motion – running, jumping, tumbling…and then there was the dancing! Music playing or not Andrew would just spontaneously “bust a move”. He was also a non-stop, rapid fire talker. Like his dancing, Andrew would walk up to you and begin talking about a random subject in a way that felt like you were joining halfway into the conversation. And then, just as abruptly as he started, he would stop, and with an inquisitive look say, “What do you think?”
The thing was his “hyper-ness” was never annoying. Quite the contrary. Andrew’s endless energy was infectious joy, and as such you always wanted more, not less, of Andrew. And that joy was rooted in love. Andrew knew with every fiber of his being that he was a beloved child of God. Great family, great church community, great friends – somewhere Andrew learned to unabashedly live into the fullness of who he was. For Andrew that meant bringing joy and fun to every situation. It was Andrew’s way of sharing the love to all those he met.
In my experience, sharing the growing up years with a person is one of the greatest blessings in life. To walk with them as they navigate their way in discovering who they are and who they believe they are becoming is often nothing short of transformational. And as those of us who are a little older know, the reality is, it is a life long journey of discovering who we are and who we are becoming. I will be forever grateful for the blessing of sharing part of the journey with Andrew. His boundless joy and love made me, and will make me, more of who I am and who I am becoming.
God of love and light we give you thanks and praise for the gift and blessing of Andrew in our lives. His infectious spirit was clearly the manifestation of your Spirit. Ever in motion, Andrew’s endless enthusiasm for life filled all our lives with joy and laughter. As Andrew now dances with the angels, may we spread his love and embrace others with the sweetness of his hugs. Let us give thanks today and evermore for the gift of Andrew in each of our lives. AMEN.
Get ready angels – the dance party is just getting started!