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Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

still missing them 2 years later.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I realized it may not make sense to some people how I could still have things to say about the accident that happened two years ago tomorrow. A good friend and a potential friend were killed, and another friend was critically injured. And yet, even now, I am in tears remembering.

It’s weird what time does. In the past two years the name Tom has become almost foreign to me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I don’t have any other friends named Tom, and maybe that is why. It’s also weird how life goes back to a new form of normal. I-75 near Mt. Vernon was always home for me growing up, being where my grandparents and Aunt and Uncle lived. But now it’s a place of sadness. But that isn’t what’s mostly on my mind today.

I know as believers in Jesus Christ, we can celebrate that Tom and Brad are in heaven now, where there is no death and no tears, but I still struggle with celebrating. Maybe it is where I am in my life, about to uproot from Lexington and move for seemingly no good reason other than God is telling me to do so. I just don’t think its fair that Tom had to die for me to realize how much like Jesus he was. And I’m not exaggerating things for the sake of being kind. Tom was so much like Jesus. And I’m ashamed that I didn’t learn from his example until he was gone.

That day is engrained in my mind forever. The sound of Erin’s voice on the phone breaking the news to me, Ben catching me when the news was final, and the funeral. What a horrible day. It all changed me, even when its not obvious to me.

The facts haven’t changed. I still can’t believe Tom and Brad are gone, even two years later. The sadness and disbelief are still very real, even for someone like me. But God is using Tom’s death still today, and in that I will myself to celebrate.

I want to be so much like Jesus, just like Tom was. That’s what I learned this past year. When I get to heaven, I want Tom to be proud of me, and then we can play Killer Pong, Assassinations, and SmudBall for eternity.

Categories: Life Tags: , , , ,

tom may memorial 5k.

Yesterday was the Second Tom May Memorial 5k Walk/Run. It was cold and rainy, but there were plenty of us there to show our support and remember our friend. I think of Tom often, but as the run approached, my remembering increased. As I listened to Tom’s mother talk about how the things in Tom’s Bible really showed who he was, I was hit by the same feeling I have felt many times since the day of the accident almost a year and a half ago: disbelief. Can he really be gone? I saw him all the time; he was always a fixture at UK games, BCM events, and around the Killer Pong table. His participation was never a question, along with his brilliance and quirkiness.

After I finished the race, which consisted of running for about 2 minutes and then walking for about the same, I approached Tom’s father to receive one of the ornaments his family had made to hand out. I was surprised as Mr. May enveloped me with a hug and called me by my full name: “Ashlyn Bruce. I love reading what you write on your blog about Tom.” We both teared up and I shared a moment I will never forget. As we both moved on, I immediately felt thankful for that brief shared moment of love for Thomas May.

We still miss you, bud.

Categories: Life Tags: , , ,

Tom & Brad: 1 Year Later.

November 9, 2009 2 comments

Tom - at Fall RetreatBrad - at Fall Retreat

I can’t believe it’s been a year…

I was filling up at a gas station in Richmond while the girls went inside for a bathroom break and caffeine. I was excited to be the first car getting back to Lexington; I was exhausted and ready to graduate school in a little over a month. I’d had a good weekend at Fall Retreat, my last one, but nothing spectacular or earth-shattering for me. I had a massive test in my hardest class, Music History, on my mind, and I hadn’t started the incredibly large amount of studying.

But then I got the phone call.

It was from Erin, who was in Lexington, wanting to know if we were okay. I was so confused. But then she cleared it up for me. I had to go in the gas station and get the girls and we prayed and took off to Lexington. Then the phone call & text message floodgate opened.

The memories of the rest of that day and the following week are still so vivid in my mind. I sat in a cubby on the 4th floor of Willy T. unsuccessfully trying to concentrate for hours. I got in my car to just drive and realized I had nowhere to go. I walked without purpose around the BCM building, my home, unable to sleep or hold a commonsensical conversation.

I avoided the stretch of Interstate for a long time. It was actually only a little under a month ago that I drove it for the first time. I cried the entire length of the new guardrail they’ve constructed. The overwhelming thought was how unfair it was that they got to leave us here. They are eternally in the presence of the Creator of the universe, and we are stuck here in a world of pain and death.

There are some things I have come to realize are forever changed about how I live because of the accident:

• I forgive much quicker.
• I don’t take time with people for granted.
These both go together. Since Tom and Brad went to be with Jesus, I try not to spend any time with unresolved conflict, or not being completely honest with those I care for. I don’t always succeed, but I have definitely seen where I normally would have held onto my hurt, I now let go easier. Time is so special.

• I invested time in those younger than me.

I didn’t like that I didn’t know Brad until that weekend. So after the accident, I purposely took more of an interest in the freshman, especially once my job fell through and I was in Lexington for the spring semester. And I thank my Lord that He brought two of those freshman into my life for good, as they are my very best friends.

• I no longer believe it couldn’t happen to me.
When someone is on their way somewhere and they are late and don’t call, I almost immediately think the worst. I no longer think something horrible like that would never happen to me. I make those I love text me when they get home safe & meaningfully tell others to be careful while driving.

I will forever cherish the memories I had with Tom. From the “Mike story” to his killer skills. From his pick-up lines to his horrible chants at my intramural football games… “B-A-P-T-I-S-T, BAPTIST CAMPUS MINISTRY!” I’m so thankful I got to spend time with him that Friday before we left for Fall Retreat. We were two of the only people in the building that morning and we played Mario Kart and Killer, reminiscing about the time Andrew hit me in the face with a ping-pong ball. He always thought that was hilarious.

I’m thinking of the May and Hall families today. I’m praying for all of us who were effected by this tragedy. And I’m thankful God spared Ben, and I still have him in my life being goofy and leading a great praise band at the BCM.

Hope will always guide me.

Tom and I - Hayride 06Brad at UK HockeyTOMnBRAD

what I wrote the night of the accident: Goodbye Friend.

My Weekend to Rob Bell.

August 18, 2009 2 comments

When I finally sat down in the second row of Mars Hill Bible Church, exhausted by the 8 hour trip and sleeping on a friend of a friend’s floor, I had no idea what to expect. The church was very inconspicuous, with no signs on the building so as we drove right past it. After 15 minutes of taking in the surroundings and watching the warehouse-type room fill up around the stage in the center, I looked up and suddenly saw Rob Bell and 2 other guys walk on stage. For a second, I got caught in the “holy crap, that’s Rob Bell 10 feet from me,” but I quickly recovered. The announcement guy said this week was gonna be special: they weren’t going to have any music (to my immense disappointment) but instead were giving the whole service to Rob to speak (to my immense pleasure). And then the next 75ish minutes were pretty cool.

[Let me preface this with the fact that I am not a huge Rob Bell fan. I enjoy NOOMA videos a lot, but do not necessarily like his writings, and am not very pro-Rob Bell doctrine/theology. That, however, did not stop me from going on this trip, or listening with an open heart and mind for what God had to tell me. And it was quite a bit.]

Rob began in Genesis 1 & 2, talking about how the earth was before sin aka how God intended it to be. He talked about us producing, ruling, subduing, and living in a blessed place. In these chapters, the earth is not a place to escape. The story starts here. Then he moved to Revelation 21 & 22, showing how when Christ comes back, He is bringing the Heavenly realm HERE; God dwells HERE. The story ends here. So many times, he said, we tell the story in relation to Genesis 3 (the Fall). Starting the story there concentrates on removing sin, on what we aren’t, and on evacuating from earth. But that’s not necessarily how it should be. Starting the story in Genesis 1 & 2 concentrates on restoration, what we are, and participating in creation.

And this all determines how WE share the story.

…the story is about Jesus’ resurrection beginning a new creation right here in the midst of the old one, about God reaffirming the goodness of creation, about anticipating the coming day when heaven & earth are one again (Rob Bell).

What I realized the most is that my hope as a follower of Christ should not be in escaping this world, but reclaiming it & overcoming it. My hope needs a good solid dose of perspective. Thanks, Rob Bell.

So while I spent 16 hours in the car and only 14 hours in Grand Rapids, I did come away with some great memories & experiences that only a ridiculous road trip with 5 friends can offer. And it was quite reaffirming that Rob Bell said God loves OCD people. 🙂

i wanna go Home.

November 17, 2008 1 comment

Last week was unlike any I’ve ever gone through. Quite high on the difficulty scale, there was little sleep, little class, much tears, and much driving, leading to a lot of playing catch-up for a lot of us this week. Not good timing with the end of the semester quickly approaching.

Yesterday, as I was pulling out of church, I was thinking about the way situations and relationships where handled this past week. Death, especially untimely and seemingly unfair death like we’ve experienced, many times brings about perspective. I used to hate that word. It brought me nothing but guilt. Now, I’m a little more keen on the subject. Anyway, I realized that no matter how I feel, I should do everything in my power to make sure people feel nothing but love from me. Even if I feel wronged, even if I want them to see my hurt, I should never make them feel anything but love. God will take care of the rest. Now, I know this sounds like another Christian cliche, but I hope you know I’m above that shit. This is truth. Easier said than done, but truth. It’s all about perspective.

Mostly the overwhelming feeling I have had this week is jealousy and anger. I am jealous that Tom and Brad got to leave this world, and angry that it wasn’t me. If that sounds morbid, so be it. This world is not my home. I don’t belong here. As a follower of Christ, I know that’s the truth. The most common thought I’ve had besides “I can’t believe he’s really gone” is “I can’t believe they got to go.” Heaven isn’t something I think about a lot, and with this perspective, (there’s that darn word again) it’s been on the forefront of my mind. I hate not being able to wrap my mind around things, and heaven is definitely one of those things. It’s times like these that I realize the fleetingness of this world, and relationships here, and my heart yearns for Home.

My heart yearns for Home.

Goodbye friend.

November 10, 2008 1 comment

tomTom, I never realized how many memories I have with you. You were in integral part of my life since you stepped foot on this campus almost 2 and a half years ago and Kristina introduced you as “Tommy,” which of course led to the infamous “Mike” story. You knew how to push my buttons right from the beginning. I remember trying to get behind in Killer when you first started playing ’cause you were BAD. I guess that’s not the case, now, huh? We have been saying all day how you’re playing with Jesus now. I said you’re losing, but Ben had a little more faith, he said you’re teaching Jesus the U-shot. 🙂

I love the final memories I have of you, from this past weekend. It was my last fall retreat, and I didn’t even want to go. I enjoyed a game of Killer with you, and we talked about the night Andrew hit me in the face with the ping-pong ball. It seemed like so long ago. And of course your accidental “shit” into the microphone that had the entire group laughing for a good 2 minutes. You always did make me smile with that mischievous grin of yours.

You were always helpful and sweet, and damn I hate using the past tense. I can’t believe this has happened. It’s the stuff that happens to other people, and you hear about it and are sad for them, but then go about your life. I can’t go about my life. I realized that when I had to call Kristina and tell her you were gone only to listen to her lose it over the phone. I wanted nothing more than to span the 70 miles that separated us.

The BCM wasn’t how you would have liked it today. An awkward hush abounded. I felt stifled after hearing about Bradley, went for a drive, only to realize I had nowhere to go. I returned just as we got the call about you. I made it downstairs before I lost it. Now that I have no one to be strong for, it’s become hard. My mind keeps telling me you’re gone, but I make myself stop before I really realized what that means. You’re GONE. Oh, gosh. Oh gosh, oh gosh.

I know you would want us to continue life. I played 2 games of Killer for you tonight, and almost beat Josh for you. I’ve been staring at my Music History notes for 7 hours now, and nothing is sticking. It’s a sucky distraction. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to lose someone. You were 20. Gosh, that damn past tense.

I want to go on, but I can’t. Oh gosh…

Categories: Ministry Tags: , , ,