Piercing the sky

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a violent storm wailing outside my window — a deep, rolling thunder that loomed eerily close and sounded angrier than any other rain storm I’ve heard. I remember opening my eyes, thinking that something big must have been happening right at that moment, then rolling back over to resume my deep sleep.

Then, morning. An early text from my brother immediately made my heart sink: “What happened to Wade Lowrey?” If you’ve never before gotten one of those messages, you’re lucky — I immediately knew the news wouldn’t be good.

I was scared to look, but I had to know. I was praying for an answer that wouldn’t be the worst — an accident, or something from which he could bounce back. But a quick search on Facebook confirmed what I feared. Wade, a dear friend from my hometown, had passed away from what was most likely a heart attack.

My heart sunk immediately. It’s hard enough to lose a friend — but the loss of Wade leaves a huge mark on this world. In 34 years, Wade lived a life that was more full than the lives of most people. He greeted every day with joy. He was absolutely hysterical, and he had a bigger heart than anyone else I’ve ever met. All day today, I’ve been fixated with the posts on Facebook — stories about Wade’s incredible outlook on life, his great sense of humor, and how he’s going to be missed by countless people. There were so many lives that he touched on a daily basis, and between laughter and tears, we’re all saying the same thing — that Wade was somebody who truly made a positive impact on all of our lives. We were all better for having known him.

Wade was a Residence Director at Ozark Christian College and a minister at Center Point Christian Church in Carthage, MO. The President at OCC posted the following on Facebook today:

Wade was an avid Facebooker, and while he could not have known that his two Facebook posts on Tuesday evening would be his last, they seem especially fitting as a benediction to this difficult news.

On Tuesday, May 22, Wade participated in the memorial service in Joplin’s Cunningham Park on the one-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado, and when those gathered observed a moment of silence at 5:41 p.m. (the time the tornado struck), Wade posted from his phone to Facebook these words: “It’s important to remember. Psalm 121:2, ‘My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.'” His very last entry, posted at 7:55 on Tuesday evening, was simply one sentence long: “Thankful for the day!”

The night of his passing, I read the following passage that I had me absolutely transfixed: “And I will die, and you will die, and we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time.” — Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels

It’s true. We will all die. Even the stars. And in a world amongst many stars, one of the brightest has faded out. The world is devastated.

Today, all of his dear friends were posting, “Thankful for the day!” in his honor. He made us all remember that each and every day is beautiful, and this life is worth living to the fullest. Not a day went by where he wasn’t happy and smiling, praising God for the life he was living, and encouraging those around him. He was at my very first roller derby bout, and at this moment, I am beyond grateful that he was there, and that we spent hours catching up over pizza after an event that would so drastically change my life. He was the epitome of what a Christian should be — loving, nonjudgmental, kind hearted, and leading by example.

You might be asking the significance of that storm. I have a feeling that the thunder and lightening came from the impact of his soul piercing the sky on his way to Heaven. I would have expected no less from Wade. I have no doubt that Wade is in a better place. But I’m also heartbroken that he’s gone. The world feels empty. Yet, I’m lucky to say that I knew him.

On a day like today, all I can say is something we’ve all been thinking and saying, which would have made me laugh hysterically: “Wade Lowrey dead at 34… Abe Vigoda still alive!”

You are missed, my friend.

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