Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eleven Years

Duane and a Few of His Drawings

Today, it has been eleven years since Duane’s earthly life ended and he took Jesus by the hand and went into the presence of Father God.  On that Palm Sunday, I and other members of our church called “Acts 1:8” prayed that he would rise from the dead and return to this earthly life, but instead, he truly rose into a greater life than we here can yet imagine.  It began a life where his creativity now honors Father God.  This is the first year since 2003 that Palm Sunday fell on April 13.  I don't know if there is any significance to that, but now, eleven years later, I am still receiving tributes to Duane from his friends.  Some tributes are shared directly with me and some are placed on his Facebook page, Friends of Duane David DuBois.

I want to share some of these tributes with you.  One was in the form of an email from Nicole, one a Facebook message from Amanda, and two were poems written when I asked for memories, thoughts or other contributions on his last birthday in January.  Jamie DuMond wrote one and Stefany Nicole wrote the other.  First, I share the poems.

"Too Soon" by Jamie DuMond

To the greatest man I knew
The good die young
God always has a plan
Here we stand
Missing you
Stronger for knowing you
We've been through hell
You helped us through
We fight on
Someday we will meet again
I remember the day I heard
Another angel was getting his wings
Lost a lot that day
Lost a lot the years that followed
Ups and downs
Still you help push me through
Its been too long
Since I've been around
Missed so much
Wishing you were still here
Because of it all I am a better man
Your ways made me better
For that I thank you
We miss you, bud, we love you
You'll always be with us
In our hearts, our thoughts and souls
Guiding us, watching out for us
Till then
I'm gonna sit right here on your stone bench and drink a beer
This one's for you.


“I Thought About You Today” by Stefany Nichole

I thought about you today.
I thought about your smile, the way you laughed.
You were an amazing person in every single way.
So caring, so true.
There is never a day that passes without me missing you.
I know some day I will see you again.
Until that day comes,
My heart and memory are where I'll keep you, my friend.


Nicole shared with me in an email that, even after eleven years, she still keeps Duane’s picture in her room, and says “Good morning” to him every morning and “Good night” every night.  It makes me proud to realize that Duane made such an impact on people that he is still so much missed.  I think one of Duane's characteristics that made him so endeared to so many was the way he accepted and loved everyone, regardless of their age, color, physical characteristics, religion or any other aspect about the outside of them.  He was as comfortable being friends with adults as with young children or his peers.  He really wanted to be accepted the same way by others.  Remember how he liked to wear gothic style clothes, and those weird contact lenses?

Amanda shared this story with me in a Facebook message conversation I was having with her recently:  "When I first started going to Acts 1:8, Duane, Patrick and I sat together in the back. It might have been my first or second time. I will never forget he had his lip ring in, wearing a backwards hat and T-shirt of a band. I asked him about what did the other people say about how he dressed in church. I will NEVER EVER forget his answer, 'Amanda, I know they don't think I dress appropriate for church, but it's not what I wear that makes me a Christian. It's what is in my heart and that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior. Don't be afraid to wear what you want, you know what is in your heart.'  That has stuck with me for the last 12 yrs."  

Thank you, Jamie and Stefany, for writing your poems in honor of Duane.  Thank you, Nicole, for keeping in touch with me.  When I communicate with you or any of Duane's friends, I feel in touch with him as well.  And thank you, Amanda, for sharing that story with me.  I was so very happy to learn about the influence that Duane had on you in accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  There's nothing more important than that.  That is fruit that remains for eternity.

I knew, as Duane knew, that not everyone approved of his outward appearance.  But he had it right.  God Himself looks not on our outward appearance, but at what is inside of each and every one of us.  

Eternal One (God, to Samuel when Samuel was trying to determine which man God had chosen as King):  Take no notice of his looks or his height. He is not the one, for the Eternal One does not pay attention to what humans value.  Humans only care about the external appearance,
but the Eternal considers the inner character.

1 Samuel 16:7, The Voice

A couple days ago, I found a poster that I really liked and shared it on my Facebook wall.  It said, "At the end of the day, the only questions I will ask myself are.... Did I love enough?  Did I laugh enough?  Did I make a difference?" Based on what his friends tell me, Duane could have answered "Yes" to all three questions.

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