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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Open Letter to Gray Southern

Dearest Gray,

When I learned of your moving on from Apex UMC I was initially upset. I'm sure, though, it's the right and best thing for you and the church.

This doesn't change how I've come to know you and appreciate all you've done for me. Beyond all you do for our church, you generously gave your time to help me (and my family) through the most difficult of times. You were present at the time we needed it. How do I go about thanking you for this? I don't know, and if I know you, you'd probably say, "it's not necessary."

Early in 2014 when I was admitted to the hospital, who was my first visitor, even before my family could get into town? You. Who kept visiting and talking? Who visited months later at the next hospital when I was too weary to even sit up? Who listened to all my theories of life, the universe, and everything; my subtle denials, doubts, crises of faith, visions, and revelations? Who prayed for me and with me? You did all these things; and more.

Who set many of the guideposts for me over the next two years: guideposts for dealing with grief and loss; guideposts for never losing site of Him. You did it. You ensured I would not get lost, personally or spiritually.

Gray, you have such outstanding gifts of empathy, intuition, and human kindness that exceed even high expectation. It didn't take me long to figure out you are one of the smartest guys I know. But these other gifts are so important, and I can't thank you enough for using them to help me along. How can I simply say,"thanks, Gray" or, "nice job, Gray". Through your God-given gifts you have saved me, again.

The other remarkable thing is I am only one of so many you have served.

I hope we can stay in touch in a real way. I still owe you one blog post. Once I asked if there was topic you thought I should write on, and you said: Peace. You've led me to the sight of it, so keep checking my blog, because it's coming one of these days.

I wish you and your family all the best in your newest endeavor.

Yours in faith,


P.S. Thank you, Gray.