Friday, March 16, 2012

Bittersweet isn't strong enough.

On the morning of March 6th, a friend of ours died in a car accident. His name is Noah. His wife, Rachel, and their sons used to live in Flourtown, and they moved out towards Lancaster a few months ago. Noah and Rachel are warm, loving people who engulf you with friendship, food and plenty of jokes. Noah and Chad worked together at PBU for a stint as night-shift security guys, and Liz used to feed them dinner before their shift. We connected with them gradually, mostly through Chad and Liz, but have really come to appreciate their friendship and generosity. They are the sort of people who will invite you for dinner at the last minute, and then serve the most delicious (and slightly exotic, to my simple palate--Gruyere fondue, real German sausage with goat cheese, or grilled tuna steaks, anyone?) food in a totally relaxed and down-to-earth atmosphere.

Noah was one of the most gentle, genuine, hilarious people I have ever met. His humor was understated and extremely witty, and chances are any exchanges with him would ultimately result in uproarious laughter. Nothing was out of bounds except anyone's feelings--he never made fun of anyone else, and instead often mocked himself.

He was also a wonderful listener. I didn't get many chances to have one-on-one, serious discussions with Noah--he was far too popular with Dan and Chad for me. However, one night I distinctly remember talking with him about the concept of children's Bibles--you know, those cute little storybook Bibles--and how uncomfortable they make me (another post for another day), and Noah listened, asked good questions, and then, only when I was done, gave me his opinion. It was refreshing to experience such a conversation, where my friend didn't try to argue with me, or convince me of anything, or interrupt; he just listened.

Noah was also one of the most intelligent people I've ever known. His intelligence was as understated as his humor; he had experienced a vast array of jobs, schooling, and adventures. He read good books and talked to smart people. His remarks were always well-formed, articulate, and showed a depth of thought that was truly unique.

I can't imagine what Rachel and their three sons must be going through. Noah was a one-in-a-million man, and his presence will be sorely missed. Dan's and my world has been upside down since Tuesday afternoon, and there is only a vague end in sight. I'm blessed enough that this is the first real loss I've experienced, and every time I remember, it's the same punch in my gut. Ceaseless prayers and the knowledge that Noah is now experiencing all the fullness of our glorious God are small comforts, but that is what I must cling to now. Rachel and the boys are surrounded by friends and family, and moreover, they are surrounded by the love of Christ.