On January 4th, 2022, My friend Casey Miller left this earth after a long battle with covid pneumonia. I was asked to say a few words. These are the words I wrote down and attempted to share.
I met Casey as teenagers in the mid 90s, right between my most goody two-shoes phase of life and Casey entering a very wild phase. And so, we went down separate paths. Other than a few chance meetings at a Walmart, it wasn’t until a Bible study here at Crossings where we both visited for the first time where we reconnected. Casey and I had both changed quite a bit, but the instant a smile came to his face, I knew exactly who he was. We reconnected that night and for the past few years had developed a meaningful bond.
Casey was a man of many friends, making new ones everywhere he went. I on the other hand have always been a man of few friends, but I was honored to have Casey as one of my closest.
I would say that Casey was my iron sharpening buddy. We would talk for hours on end. Especially on Wednesday nights after Bible study. One time we got locked in the church parking lot, because Wednesday turned into Thursday before we had taken notice, and I am pretty sure, we made both of our wives worry about us.
Casey ministered to me attempting to stir my heart and challenge my view of the world. And I in turn would minister to him, seeking to calm his heart and remind him that whatever was going on in the world around us, that our choice is simple. Seek God and follow Him, with all that we are. On this we agreed.
I would like to think that our conversations impacted him as much as they impacted me. But one thing can not be denied, and that is that Casey impacted me. Affecting my views of history, my Christian Faith and what it means to be a friend and brother in Christ.
Like a large stone tossed into the water, Casey has made an impact that continues to ripple through our lives.
Casey pursued life with passion and purpose. He was full of joy and laughter. I know to some people, including himself at times, he was perfect and was never wrong. But what I admired about him most was that he never let being imperfect or flawed stop him or hold him back. He embraced who he was, all that made him who he was. He was unashamed and courageous. He turned hardship into strength, and fears into motivation. Oppression into empowerment.
Because every new day was an opportunity to do it right and Casey was dedicated to figuring out what was right and living by it.
If Casey could ask anything of us, I believe he would want us to think, to ponder, to question… on what is ultimately true and right.
I am reminded of the words Paul wrote to his friends far away, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed -not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
Casey enthusiastically pursued truth and when he found something true, he wanted to share it with everyone he talked to. It is now on us to keep that torch lit in our own lives. To seek for ourselves and hopefully to find what Casey found.
The joy of salvation.
The purpose in brotherhood.
The passion in what it means to really truly love. Not the hallmark movie love, but the real gritty and honest love. Dedicated, sacrificial love. Love that stirs a wide range of emotions, because we allow it to penetrate our hearts and guide us.
Many of us today may feel sorrow, sadness, maybe even anger. That is merely a reflection of the love that is there. The emotions may fade with time, but love like that does not fade. Because love is magic.
Not everyone is comfortable calling it magic, but it’s a fine word. Casey believed that too. Because it means there are things we don’t yet understand fully but we know to be very real. Love is indeed magical. It is one of the few elements of this existence that we know transcends this world.
Casey was charismatic, he was deep, he was magical.
I am thankful for having a true friend like Casey. I hold it as an honor to allow his words and deeds to be held in my memory, close to my heart. I will miss him, for a short season, and I know I will see him again. But until that time, we all have a work to continue. And I only hope to continue that work with a fraction of the passion of my friend Casey Miller.