All Is Well.
We live in absolutely amazing world, and I challenge anybody who thinks differently to have their perspective adjusted. Unfortunately, part of what makes us all so special and unique is that we are not all born with equal abilities, talents, or circumstances. Life, while amazing, is anything but fair.
Take me for example, I grew up in middle class suburbia with two parents who had what we’ll call slightly above average incomes. We packed lunches regularly, my mom made spaghetti for what felt like 8 nights a week, and since my parents got it right the first time...there was only me! A select few in this country could turn up their nose and look at our situation and think, “How on earth did you survive?” While others, including some of my friends thought we were “rich” because I had a 13” TV in my room. My point, I didn’t ask nor deserve any of it.
I’ll say this (and understand you are crazier than I am if you think I’m capable of believing this all the time), All is Well with God on the thrown. You all know that I have many life goals and aspirations, but my goal for my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is to get to the point where I can always say that with the utmost confidence and belief. Two weeks ago, though, we lost one of the toughest, coolest, most humble individuals I've ever come across…and he was only 23. As I sit here, still in disbelief, trying to find the right words to say what I want, I'll admit that this is not only the most challenging post I have ever written, but also a delicate subject that required time and consideration.
I had the amazing opportunity to coach Tyler James Challingsworth for 2 seasons while I was living in Pittsburgh. To call him special would be about the same as describing a sunset to a blind man, and only using the word beautiful. Tyler was so much more, and those who knew him best will understand my sentiment. My intention is not to talk about Tyler, nor reminisce about the 23 quality years that he walked this earth. Stories have already been told, memories shared, and as he looks down upon us all I believe he knows exactly how we feel about him.
Losing someone you love and care about is one of the most difficult challenges life can throw at us, and often times is a pain that never truly goes away. Having family and friends close by your side is so important throughout the grieving process, but what also makes a difference is a faith that person is in a better place and that somehow, some way you will get through this tough time. Whether that’s faith in Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, another form of religion, or none at all is your decision. Trust me, I am not here to judge.
Death has this uncontrollable ability that causes us to slow down, reflect, and often ask questions like “Why this, or why that?” I mean c’mon on let’s be honest, this is life and we are humans. It’s a natural part of the healing process. Why something happened to someone that we love so deeply is a question that will, unfortunately, never get answered. And just like all of you reading this, I love my child, friends, and family more than life itself. But, I always wonder how strong would my faith be, if tested in a circumstance such as this? Would I still look up towards my God and say, “I love you…All is Well?”
In the same way that we are all born in to different circumstances, we will all leave this earth under different circumstances as well. The only similarity…the choice isn’t always our own. Believe me when I say, this is isn’t a plea telling you to go to Church on Sunday, live each day like it’s your last, or never go to bed angry. Because the truth is you, along with me, will fall short. I have failed God more times that I care to admit, but He wipes my slate clean every night. Just as we love the ones closest to us unconditionally, that is how God feels about us and the relationship we have with Him.
Marriages come to an end, communities are hit by natural disasters or unforeseen tragedies, and loved ones are lost every day. I know that is an apple to oranges comparison, but understand even in the worst of times, God is not failing you. Instead of asking “Why?” I hope you are able to direct your attention towards His love, or make the tough decision and focus on all of the positive things you have in your life. While we could always have more, and I mean no disrespect to anyone when I say this, we could always have less.
Life, and being alive, is the only thing that allows death to be a possibility. Together I hope that we are able to celebrate the life of Tyler Challingsworth, along with countless other loved ones we have lost, and allow those emotions to penetrate our hearts and minds and serve as reminder of how alive we truly are.
R.I.P Tyler James Challingsworth
February 27, 1993 - February 5, 2017