I’ve let time pass again. I don’t know where it goes! It seems to just rip by me lately.
It struck me.
I didn’t personally know Jimmy, only the beautiful soul he planned to share forever with, though reading about him the last few days, I wish I had gotten the chance.
Here’s some soul-food, some food for thought, and a continuous prayer request because there will surely be a void in many lives without this man in the world…
Later today we will celebrate the life of Jimmy McLaughlin.
But I would like to share with you now my favorite Jimmy story.
Most evenings when the weather is nice, you will find Kim and me out on our deck unwinding from the stress of the day and catching up with each other. If you are not familiar with where we live, our yard backs right up to the Herndon High School athletic fields. There is a fairly thick wooded area between our yard and the more elevated fields, which are enclosed by a chain link fence that is probably a good 7 or 8 feet tall. Because of our close proximity, if we are on our deck, we are hearing whatever game, practice, or band event that is occurring on the fields.
On this particular evening, if I remember correctly, it was a Powder Puff game that was taking place.
So there we were, on the deck just talking and sitting at the table under the umbrella. That’s when it happened.
All of a sudden there was this great commotion in woods behind our house. We could hear bushes and leaves rustling loudly; branches snapping and cracking…..and I mean cracking, these were obviously no small branches being broken.
What the heck could it be?
We were startled…was it a huge deer? A Big Foot?
What could possibly be snapping large branches like tooth picks and causing all that commotion?
Should we go to safety inside the house?
Seconds later, we saw it.
It wasn’t a giant deer. No and it wasn’t Big Foot either.
It was a human.
It was a human wearing only a Speedo.
And it was Jimmy.
As Jimmy emerged from the trees and the underbrush he quickly bolted across our back yard. As you would expect with Jimmy, he very respectfully acknowledged Kim and I on the deck with a greeting, never losing a step as he raced across the yard. We watched in confusion and disbelief as Jimmy crossed the neighbor’s yard, then the common area, and finally disappeared around the tennis courts.
Later I would learn that in the moments just before the commotion in the woods, Jimmy had streaked across the Powder Puff Game field and had a couple of adults in hot pursuit as he scaled and leaped the high chain link fence and went crashing through the woods.
For Kim and I, left looking at each other thinking what’s to disbelieve?
It was Jimmy in his Speedo crashing through the woods and running through the yard.
And we laughed.
I recently read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic. You might be familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert because she wrote Eat, Pray, Love; which was pretty popular. In Big Magic, Gilbert introduces the concept that inspiration is a living thing. And as a living thing, inspiration is constantly looking for a place to live, a place to develop. Left idle, that inspiration would move on looking for someplace else, someone else, where it could continue to live and grow.
That may be hard to imagine, but I believe inspiration found a home in Jimmy. Jimmy was inspired to do great things with his life. After college something motivated him to leave his comfort zone and join the Navy. But not just the Navy, he took on Navy Seal training and ultimately became a Medical Navy Diver graduating at the top of his class.
Something in Jimmy drove him to want to take on the most challenging and be the best at it.
And he succeeded.
I propose this to you, because I want you to consider that what if Ms. Gilbert’s theory has merit? What if the inspiration that found its home in Jimmy, is now idle and looking for a place to live?
And wouldn’t it be an honor and a privilege if the inspiration that was alive in Jimmy, found its new home in one of us.
But maybe we think that is a bunch of crap and don’t believe that inspiration is a living thing looking for a place to grow.
Maybe we don’t need to. Maybe we just need to consider Jimmy’s life…. not his death, but his life; and maybe that would be enough to inspire one of us to strive to do something we have never done before, something outside our comfort zone, and be the best at it.
And do it with the same good nature and passion that Jimmy would have done it with.
I think so.
And for Jimmy, who did all the hard work to provide that inspiration for us, that would be an honorable way to be remembered.
But for now Jimmy, rest……. in peace.
Love out, prayers up.