I have had quite the past couple of weeks.
First, there was VBS preparation at our church.
I'm not quite sure how I got wrapped up in it all, but I definitely did. I was up to my eyeballs in paper trees and cardboard cabins.
VBS landed the same weekend as my weekend to host a children's clothing home show at my house.
Hosting a Home Show meant doing some serious cleaning and other busyness.
Then, in the midst of VBS and my Home Show preparation, I received some very sad news.
My cousin, Tripp, was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Everything was put on hold as I scrambled to make arrangements to travel to Texas for his funeral.
Death is something that shouldn't surprise you. It's inevitable. Yet the news of someone's death always feels like a punch in the gut. Especially when that someone played an important role in your life.
Honestly, I can't understand why Tripp was taken at such a young age. I struggle with why God would decide to take him home now - when he was getting his life together...when things were going better than they've ever gone for him. I can't see what God has planned through this. But I know one thing: My cousin is with His Savior. And he's unbelievably happy.
Christians like to say that funerals are a "celebration" of a homecoming. A "celebration" of a life.
Usually, the "celebration" is kinda depressing.
Tripp's funeral was the only funeral I have ever been to that was truly a celebration of life.
My Aunt, Uncle, and cousins chose 2 songs for his funeral:
Big House by Audio Adrenaline and I'll Fly Away by Johnny Cash.
The pictures they chose for his video reflected his goofy personality. I love that the photo next to his casket was of him acting crazy and jumping into a swimming pool.
My favorite thing, though, was the overwhelming pride and love I felt for my family as I listened to each and every member stand up on the stage and share funny, warm, real, loving, stories of Tripp's life.
Christ was honored through Tripp's funeral. Christ was glorified through his death. God's grace and love covered my family and his peace was reflected in each one of their faces. I've never been more proud to be part of my family than I was on that day.
My cousin Hunter, Tripp's sister, said, "We don't know what God has planned through this, but if one person can come to know Him through Tripp's death, then it's all worth it. But we want to know who that one person is."
I leave you with Tripp's obituary: a sweet honorarium of a man who was very, very loved.
Thomas Kendrick McGehee III
Thomas Kendrick "Tripp" Born July 26, 1983 in Bethesda, MD; died (clean and sober) as a result of a single motorcycle accident on July 12, 2009 in Plantation, FL. Tripp's life was not full of worldly degrees and honors (though he had some such rewards). Rather, his life was full of what really matters: the love of family, the love of friends (both old and new), and the love of a special godly young woman and her family. His humor, his intelligence, his wit, his ear for listening, his acts of kindness, and even his battle with drug and alcohol addiction were all uniquely wrapped up in a glorious soul that most importantly, had learned to completely trust his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Tripp graduated from Plano Senior High School in 2002 where he played starting offense and defense for the Wildcats football team. He attended Baylor University on partial scholarship. He moved one year ago to Fort Lauderdale, FL where he found strength and victory at The Recovery Place and at Calvary Chapel. He is survived by his parents, Tom and Elaine McGehee, of Plano, TX; sister Erin McGehee Strain and husband Duke of Frisco; sister Hunter McGehee of Plano; and brother Billy McGehee of Plano. He is also survived by grandmother Frances Hunter of Plano; aunt Phil Cudahy of Chapel Hill, NC; and uncle and aunt Chip and Janet Hunter of Germantown, TN, along with numerous cousins. He also leaves behind Raissa Lynn Hughes of Plantation, FL - his one true love. Tripp worked at Starbucks in Ft. Lauderdale, and most recently, as a credit consolidation counselor - both jobs he loved because they served people. Our hearts both grieve and rejoice. He is with his Jesus. Visitation on Thursday, July 16th at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow in Allen, TX from 7 to 9pm. Service at Prestonwood Baptist Church chapel on Friday, July 17th at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Recovery Place, 3100 East Commercial Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 and designated for the Tripp Fund.
John 11:25-26 - I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in Me will never die forever.