1 Samuel 18:1
I don't know that I've ever known anyone quite like him. I never met anyone...anyone...who didn't like him, and I knew him for more than half of his life.
He was extraordinarily even-keeled & under control. Whether playing football, lifting weights, goofing around @ the beach, battling with technology that wasn't working right...or dealing with friends who weren't living right...or raising kids while in a very challenging graduate program...or even while battling a dreadful disease, the mere name of which causes people to go weak at the knees. Always calm & peaceful. Even smiling most of the time.
He possessed amazing physical strength. His weightlifting prowess was amazing. I asked him once about his bench press max...and was stunned at the answer. Then I realized that he had been dealing with a slight injury, and was much more stunned. I once saw several guys try to throw him into a pool; they all wound up wet...he didn't.
He had that great gift of being everyone's friend without sinking to their level of bad behavior. What a great ministerial gift...to have that kind of faith that is completely secure in its object such that others' behavior has no impact save godly sorrow. He was totally able to connect with others such that they felt completely confident & loved around him even while doing things they knew he didn't approve of...
I watched him fall in love in 11th grade. Deeply in love. Very deeply in love. He had that smile when he spoke of her, even early in their romance. A light in his eyes. Every woman wishes her man lit up like that just at the mention of her name...or at her entrance in a room. She was his treasure, and his sacrificial, selfless love for her challenged all of us who knew him.
I will always remember when he pulled me aside just after a Christmas Eve service at our church & told me he was about to propose to her in the next few minutes. He was about to pop with excitement. And maybe even with a bit of nerves. I consider him telling me this ahead of time to be one of the higher honors I'll ever have in this life.
He discussed several major life decisions with me, but confiding in me for that particular one was awesome in the sense of what awesome meant before we applied it to such trivialities as pizza. I was absolutely stuck with awe...
He loved on & encouraged my children in his quiet, funny way. They, too, remember him fondly. "Supermodel Anne Madaris" he called my daughter. And he always asked about James' football practices & games, and later about how the pharmacy school was coming along. To see him talk about his beloved children as they came...no Daddy ever was more proud of his kids. Somehow, he seemed to treasure his wife more when she became a mother; I wouldn't have thought it possible for him to treasure her more...
We shared a love of good hard rock & heavy metal. Among others, he turned me on the the music of Queensryche, which I still enjoy and which always will remind me of him.
I work in the tech booth at our church's worship services because of him. I started hanging out in the booth some years back. Greatly-treasured conversation. (um...yeah...we did, in fact, converse in the booth during worship services now & then...) He taught me...and began recruiting me. I think of him every single worship service as I'm helping in the booth.
And then the evil disease arrived. I remember how I found out, but that's not important here. What I remember most is that even this, with all of its nasty treatments did not appear to disturb his equilibrium. In between treatments, he & I would visit Starbucks & drink coffee & compare medical procedures. (I was early in my cancer treatment then) We would laugh and cut up. Those are some of the sweetest, most cherished memories I have.
I wasn't in town that last horrendous week of his life. I was in intensive care at M.D. Anderson for a cycle of cancer treatment. Thus, I did not get to visit him there near the end nor to hug his wife nor play with his children. The blessing of not being there then is that my memories of him are of him laughing, smiling, & telling me he loved me. And of that last word from him via a text message I got from his wife..."tell Mike I'm praying for him & that I love him"
So today, one year after he left us, I celebrate the life, legacy, & friendship of my buddy Jon Jason Weathers. Jason was what the best men among us endeavor to be. He claimed that I taught & mentored him...the truth is, he taught me much about life, love, & faith in his 33 short years on earth. His crowns in glory are many. I am honored that he considered me a friend. I still miss him very hard.
This world is less joyful, less serious, less funny, less godly, and just feels less like home since Jason left us.
I'll never forget, bro. See you later. Can't wait!
With great love & a heavy heart that rejoices always at your memory,
All alone now
Except for the memories
Of what we had and what we knew
Everytime I try to leave it behind me
I see something that reminds me of you...
Queensryche, "Eyes of a Stranger"
And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.
1 Samuel 23:16
P.S. - PLEASE DO ME A *HUGE* FAVOR AND PRAY FOR JASON'S BELOVED WIFE STEPHANIE AND HIS THREE PRECIOUS CHILDREN ANNA LEA, JON BRENT, & ALLY.
In fact, I'd greatly appreciate it if you would put them on your "forever" prayer list. They're doing well, all things considered, but they've had a tough year, as you might imagine...