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Bigger than life… as we know it

I’ve dispatched a trusty staffer to a task that I have been wrestling with for…oh, two years:  Cleaning up my address book.

Somewhere, in an idiosyncratic sync between a laptop, a desktop, a Blackberry and the nebulous computing cloud formation Cumulus Googlus, my contact list had bloated to 4,000+, including up to six identical entries for an individual I’ve never called and one entry for “Horse Riding” (or, ‘Riding, Horse’ depending on which list you were looking at).  It should be noted that I have not been on a horse in twenty years.

Anyway, at last count, the list had nearly been cut in half through deletions and consolidations of multiple entries.  This makes me happy.  It also allows me to see who’s really in there, and thumbing through the list on my phone yesterday, I ran across a name that stopped me in my tracks.

Loux, Derek

Immediately, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was comforted to know that with all the deletions, Derek’s number was still there.  I knew that no one would answer the number if I called, but something about keeping him in there felt better than deleting it.  It’s almost as if deleting it was to acquiesce to a reality that I still resist…one that admits that Derek does not walk among us right now.

If you’re new to this blog, Derek went to be with the Lord in a tragic car accident one cold day in late December.   The event rocked our community.  Winsome, full of life, happily married with ten children – most of them adopted – Derek was just the kind of person you want in your own life to provoke, inspire, and entertain you.  He was bigger than life – which made his death so much more difficult to accept.  You can find my remarks following his death here.

Just over four months have passed since we lost Derek.  I’m a little pained by the fact that I cannot remember the last conversation we had.   With seventeen children between us, we didn’t get a lot of time to linger over coffee…but the occasions we did were rich.   Even though he was a young man, Derek lived life like one who understood that time was not meant to be wasted.  He didn’t spend time – he invested it…and I do remember feeling invested in after conversations with him.

We won’t see Derek again until this age has passed, but if we did, I would have much to say.

I’d tell him that Renee is every bit as amazing as he always thought she was.

I’d tell him that his children miss their father but are leaning hard on Jesus.

I’d tell him nearly every week, a stranger tells me how he influenced them.

I’d tell him that meetings are boring without him.

And I’d tell him that I still have his number.

To learn more about Derek’s life, his amazing family and the mission that continues, go to The Josiah Fund.

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12 Responses

  1. Thanks friend.
    I still have his number too.

  2. Thanks for these thoughts…I can be one of those strangers to say ‘he affected me, too.’ I find myself listening to talks he gave. And to think…he was going to be here for a conference a month later. Part of me still feels like the conference is missing from our history…

  3. I had the opportunity to meet Derek and sing on a worship team with him on two separate ocassions at a marketplace ministry conference in IL. He provoked me more than anyone I have ever met. I remember after the first time I heard him share his heart (He and Renee only had 5 kids at this point) we all got to go to lunch together and we got to hear his heart some more–and crack jokes as well. My heart was stirred and sparked to do what I could to be a part of “his type of people”. You know….the type that practice what they preach with a spiritual violence. At that time, I was a prospective FMA student and I shared with him my financial concerns about moving to IHOP, adopting, etc. He simply said in all kindness and fully believing “If we can do this with 5, you can do this too. You can.”
    Since moving to be a part of IHOP, we never got to connect with him, but every time I saw him in the GPR holding one of his kids and others following behind him, I was encouraged and provoked all over again. His life truly was not wasted but invested richly. I long for that kind of life.
    So, here Efrain and I are, connected with TZF, doing what we can right now all because a man with some funky hair and loud shirts rocked our world and told us the truth of what matters to God.

    And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    ~Marisol Sanchez

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t want to delete his number. Though, sometimes I pass it in my contact list and it hits me really hard.
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    I miss my friend.

  5. My favorite comment before the heartfelt Derek part… “Cumulus Googlus”

  6. Well said Randy (as usual). You just very eloquently put into words the same reasons we would all give for still having Derek’s number in our phones. I miss him too and I hardly knew him. I miss him for our community, but mostly I miss him for his family!

  7. The old one liner came true for me while reading this post. ” I laughed…..I cried…..It changed my life.” I find myself wanting to live more carefully than I did yesterday. Thanks Randy ……and thanks Derek you are missed but not forgotten.

  8. Thank you Randy, for such a beautiful post. I miss Derek more than words can express. My morning cup of coffee is not the same, because he’s not at the coffee pot with me, sharing our morning kiss. He’s not here to pray with, to dream with, to laugh with and to cry with. I miss his wild shirts, his “got to be glued” hair. I miss all the kids yelling, “Daddy’s home!” I miss our talks together about how much we didn’t want to live ordinary lives. I miss that look we would give each other, that one where we knew we were just going to go for it and bring in one more child. Derek was an amazing man, the love of my life and the most amazing daddy ever. I was blessed to call him “mine.” My tears are many and the pain is deep but I’m so glad I have the hope of eternity. Oh, and by the way, I haven’t turned his phone service off yet. I like to call, just to hear his voice.
    We love you guys.
    Renee’ and tribe

  9. We also lost a good friend this past fall. It was sudden, shocking and heartbreaking for those of us left behind.

    When he died and the word was spreading like wild-fire through our small town I was out working in my yard. Of course, my work stopped, but I sat there in my backyard weeping and laughing at the same time. Weeping for obvious reasons, but laughing because what joy it must have brought to heaven to have Jay come home. And what a fantastic time my friend was finally having face to face with Jesus (I’m sure a kayak was involved!)

    The story of your friend reminds me of Jay. I’ve never seen so many people at a funeral in my life. Of those 2,000 people who showed up the question was asked, “How many of you did Jay pray with?” Virtually every hand went up. Our Jay was also a very affectionate man so we all know that if he prayed with you, he also gave you a hug. What a testament that was to the power of love in this world.

    Since his passing we have watched how it has taken NUMEROUS people to fill his ministry shoes but it has been great to see people step up to what God has called them to do and Jay’s influence had a great deal to do with it.

    Derek sounds like a wonderful man and I look forward to meeting him one day. Your words both on this post and on original postings at his time of passing have brought him beautiful honor.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. I guess after all that, what I’m saying is – I get it.

  10. beautiful…just beautiful.

  11. tears, tears, tears and a couple of quiet sobs.

  12. Randy, this post puts to words something i have fealt for a while. I cant tell you how many times ive scrolled through my contact list and see his name and it stops me in my tracks as well. i’ll never delete it!!!

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