There once was a man named Rocky, but I didn’t know him then. I first met him in 4th grade when he went by his middle name, Chase. We played on the same football team for a year, it was coached by my uncle. He was this bright, energetic and very funny little kid. It was a joy to be his teammate. We lived in a relatively small town so after that I would see him around every once in a while for the next few years. Then in middle school we both participated in CML and GTC together. Those are nerdy extra curricular things so they could get a bit dry, but you could always count on Chase to crack a joke and make everyone laugh.
Then came high school. For all four years I had multiple classes with Chase so I saw him almost every day. We didn’t have the same friends groups, but he was the kind of guy who could be friends with anybody. It was during these years that I really started to appreciate how talented Chase was. I was with him in choir classes, voice of a tenor angel, but he would just walk up and start playing the piano from time to time. Some days he would bring his guitar in and play. He was on the drum line for school. It seemed like anything musical, he could easily pick it up and be phenomenal! I never hung out with him outside of school, but for those 4 years I felt like we were friends. He had that effect on a lot of people. You couldn’t help but smile (and probably laugh) when you were around him.
After high school I moved away and never saw him or talked to him again, but thanks to Facebook and mutual friends I got to see him go off and live out his musician dreams. I would often see posts of him playing at this little club or that tiny dive bar. He loved it; he truly loved playing music.
Last Friday, Rocky died. It’s been almost 11 years since I’ve seen him so I don’t know what was going on in his life. I don’t know what kind of demons he was facing or what kind of blessings he was celebrating. I really don’t know much about how he was living his life at all. But I do know that he was a light and a joy to everyone he met. I know that the world is a bit dimmer without him here.
In situations like this, science does nothing for me. Science explains how our brains can continue working up to 10 minutes after our heart stops. Science explains how telomeres shorten and no one can live forever. Science explains the effect of rigor to determine time of death. These facts don’t make it any better. All of my other scientific knowledge from my years of school means nothing at this point when I am feeling sad for this loss. Even though science and religion can both tell me the truth of the matter, only one of those two are helpful at times like this.
Those scientific truths mean nothing without the truth of Jesus Christ. We have historical documents that show that he lived and he died on this Earth. We have religious documents that tell us that he rose from the grave to conquer that human death. This truth, this promise of life after death means something to me today. It means that this lovely gentleman who I was privileged to know has a chance at eternal glory. It means that hopefully he will soon be reunited with our God in heaven and that he will no longer feel any pain. God loves His son Rocky and I’m sure He desires to be close to Rocky’s wit and humor like we all did. This brings me comfort. This brings me peace. No scientific details can do that, no matter how true.
I spend every day trying to better understand the one truth that both science and Christianity are striving for. They both enrich our lives and our understanding in so many ways. But today… today only one of them is important to me. Only one of them will bring me any solace. We need both; both help us through difficult times in our lives. Science gives us a more detailed answer of what exactly happened, and sometimes that can be extremely helpful, the what and how. But today as I mourn the loss of this man, knowing that our God has saved all of our souls by coming to the Earth because he truly loved us, the who and why, is all I need.