I woke up this morning in a different place than I have for the past year. Same bed. Same alarm clock (boo!). But a different place.
This day was officially different.
This past weekend I moved. I moved up. Like the Jeffersons. "To a deluxe apartment in the sky." Well, not really deluxe. It's more like a "one-bedroom apartment in the sky." But really not even the sky. It's just up a big hill on the side of Shades Mountain. But ask my momma and she'll tell you I practically live on Mount Everest. Up the long and winding road.
So I woke up in a different place. And in a different way. I didn't immediately turn on the television and grab my iTouch and check Twitter like I ususally. Basically because I don't have cable and internet yet. But I woke up to a quiet place.
I then pulled out the handy-dandy Samford-issued AT&T Wireless internet air card, plugged it into my computer and dialed up K-Love. Because if there is one thing that the 'Ham is lacking is a quality (emphasis on the word quality) Christian music station. A.K.A K-Love.
This day was officially more different.
Then I went on about my business.
As I was getting ready, I thought, "Hmm, wouldn't it be great if the left turn signal at the bottom of the hill turned green right when I approached so I wouldn't have to sit for 45 minutes (slight exaggeration) to turn onto Lakeshore?"
And then guess what happened as I approached ye olde light. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Not 100 yards from the light, it turned green, making my trip to work, officially 3 minutes and 42 seconds.
And this day was officially more different than it was before.
Isn't God awesome? The way he shows himself by answering prayers you didn't even know you prayed?
I be-bopped into work with a smile on my face, basking in the greatness that God just showed me. I hadn't been there 15 minutes when my boss came in my office and said, "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?" And then proceeded to close the door behind him.
Those aren't exactly words you want to here first thing in the morning. My first reaction was, "Humble pie? Don't mind if I do. What the heck have I done wrong now?"
But no wrong had been done on my part. It turns out that one of our men's basketball players, Jim Griffin, passed away in his sleep last night.
And this day was officially a different kind of different.
My heart sank. Although you could probably count how many conversations I've ever had with Jim on half of one hand, Jim was one of my favorite people. I guess you could say that I knew him vicariously, if that is even possible. I've heard so many stories from his coaches and my volleyball players, that I feel like I know him all too well.
Jim was the kind of player that you always wanted on your team, no matter what his talent level was. I would say that last year, his junior year, was his breakout year. Jim was the most fun to watch, not because he was a part of any amazing plays or because he could dunk over a 7'2" center or because he drained three-pointers from eight feet behind the arc.
Jim played with his heart. Moreso, he played with is soul. You hear people talk about "leaving it all out on the court". That's what Jim did. Every game. It didn't matter weather he played four minutes or 40 minutes. You knew that Jim was going to give you everything he had. And it was completely evident. Transparent.
I always joked about how Jim always looked like he was petrified and on the brink of death when he was on the floor. But that's how he played. You could literally see him go through the full range of emotions right there on the floor.
His friendships all over campus are a testimony to what kind of guy he was. Everyone knew him. And he was usually the life of the party.
My prayers go out to the Griffin family and all of his friends. My heart broke this morning for our student-athletes as reality started to set in. Almost six months ago, I lost a very good friend and I know how hard it is to understand how someone so young, who has his whole life in front of him, is here one day and gone the next.
However, what got me throught that time, and what I've tried to convey to my girls on the team and our student-workers here, is that we are not in control. No matter how bad we want to believe it and how mad it makes us feel, we are never in control. There is One True God, who is the Master and Maker of this universe, and he holds everything in the universe, and outside of it, in the palm of his hand. He makes the decision around these parts and we are merely the little colored squares in God's big ol' rubix cube. Except God already knows the solution.
But we must also understand that He does nothing without a purpose. And that purpose is bringing glory to His name. That may sound selfish to some, but the more I've studied His Word and the closer that has drawn me to him, the more I count it all joy when bad things like this come my way. (James 1) Why? Because I get to see Him work in a big way. My reaction has turned from feelings of helplessness and confusion, to feelings of peace and comfort because I know that there is One person that I can fully lean into and trust that He will support me when I'm weak.
And when I'm weak, y'all...that's when He shows off.
I don't know what's going on in the lives of those of you who are reading this, but know this: My God is the God that forgives. He's the God that saves. And He's the God that restores. And He can be your God too. He makes ALL things new. And one day we will all be made knew, those of us that confess Him as Lord and believe in Him as the God of salvation and restoration.
And right now, I believe that Jim's sporting a nice new body. One that isn't sore from workouts. Or tired from playing two hours of pick-up. And he's feasting on an everlasting buffet of Krispy Kremes and shrimp.
Please somebody tell me there are Krispy Kremes and shrimp.