>Victor Durrington is a great man.
It may seem strange to some to mention him in the present tense. He passed away yesterday, March 5th, at 7:40 pm. To be sure, the world is a slightly dimmer place without his light in it.
However, to confine Victor to his broken earthly vessel doesn’t do justice to the man. Blessed with intelligence, a gentle spirit, and an easy smile, he touched everyone he came into contact with, even if they didn’t know they had been in touch. Whether it was his generosity in giving Jenna and me our house for college, which has in turn blessed 8 other people (and counting), or his fun-loving attitude that accounts for my ability to throw left-handed (we’ll get back to that), the “man” Victor is more than just the man.
I will always think of him as the person who let me drive in the parking lot when I was just 12, or the look on his face when our rope swing snapped and I plummeted to the ground, not sure whether to call the ambulance or burst out laughing. I have a fairly severe fear of heights, but spending afternoons on the roof with him was usually one of highlights of my summers in Abilene.
And playing catch in the backyard. Oh how I loved playing catch. I wasn’t blessed with great size or speed or a rocket arm, but I could always catch. And he loved throwing the ball around more than anyone I’ve known. We’d make up games, throwing backwards and off the roof and with our weaker hands. I’m a natural righty, but I can wing it left-handed with the best of them because Victor didn’t laugh at my awkward attempts to coordinate my lanky frame.
The human Victor couldn’t play catch towards the end. As I was given the news that the end was nearing, I prayed for healing and that God would free him from his prison. In a moment of interaction with the divine, as I uttered the words “Take him home God,” a gust of wind hit me, reminding me that God is found in the still, small voice. Thirty minutes later, after he passed, I started imagining his joy at being healthy again, having a body that will never break down, never grow old, never succumb to the restrictions of this fallen world ever again. And then I imagined him playing catch in heaven, with Vicki, his daughter, and his mother, and all of his friends.
And then I imagined Victor looking up, beckoning for the return throw, as a lanky Jewish carpenter from Nazareth tried to figure out how to throw left-handed, laughing at himself, but receiving nothing but encouragement from my grandpa.
Victor never was his body. The body may have failed, but the spirit, melded into one with the Spirit of God, lives on eternally.
Victor Durrington is a great man, and I can’t wait to see him again.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17