In the Sweet By and By

Words and platitudes fall horribly short when a friend dies.

Zane Stotesbury USN was one of Erik and Adam’s best friends in Charleston, training alongside them in the U.S. Navy’s “nuke” program. He was a grand fisherman, and they spent endless fantastic hours in his canoe catching crabs, eels and an occasional fish on the swampy lakes and rivers near Goose Creek.

Rest in peace, sailor.

They told me last night that he died in New York yesterday as a result of a motorcycle accident. He had moved to upstate New York as part of the third phase of “nuke” training — my boys will most likely also go there in a couple of weeks.

I sat outside this morning at dawn, listening to birdsongs in the trees. There were so many melodies to hear — my ear had to sift through the tweets and chirps and whistling to try and follow one particular song. Like they say, it was a cacophony of bird music. There were also air conditioners running and airplanes flying over my head, police sirens wailing, and firetrucks honking their horns. It was an effort of the ear to find the peaceful melody I was searching for. It was so difficult to discern the beauty amidst the noise.

I think that’s how it is when someone we care about is suddenly gone, like Stotesbury. We want so bad to know “why” and we don’t understand how this is even remotely part of God’s good and loving plan. He died one month before turning twenty-one — he was shining in Navy whites, and his folks were standing tall and proud of his great accomplishments already. I looked at his facebook page and saw him posing with some GIANT fish out on the Pacific Ocean.

Platitudes just don’t cut it when your heart is ripped out of your chest, your brain is on overload with memories and your hope is smashed all over the highway in upstate New York.

It doesn’t make sense, and it never will.

It’s just sad. Pure sad. Pitch black sad.

Please pray for the family and friends of Zane Stotesbury in the days and weeks to come. God bless you.

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

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March 2023