Not everything found in a treasure hunt is pleasant.
I was again moving and sorting library books and a letter fell from a book that was headed to the recycle pile. Of course, I'm a curious old fart, so I had to sit and see what was in the letter. There was no return address. The stamps, one of which was put on the letter upside down, were of Australia. The stamp cancellation was faded but appeared to say March or May 1988. That was toward the end of year of internship while I was attending Dallas Theological Seminary.
It was a letter from an Australian I had met at DTS who was, in a word, rambunctious. If ever I have met a person who seemed to be the idea youth pastor type, it was Garry Eadon. Garry always seemed to have a smile on his face and was the kind of person you just couldn't be sad around. His smile, his infectious laugh, his exuberance for life were but a few of his many qualities. His letter was a "here's what has been happening with me" update letters that used to be printed up and mailed out to all the people who were on a mailing list. He was busy about the ministries which had bouncing from place to project to people. He had hit the ground running upon his return to Australia and I'm guessing he never looked back.
Of course, in this day of instant information and social media, I immediately wondered if he could be located. So I grabbed the keyboard, typed in his name, and pressed enter.
Sometimes when you hunt for treasure, the results are not as expected.
I found him, but I also found some sad news about Garry.
From the little I could locate about him, Garry passed away after having contracted an illness on a missionary trip. The one picture I found of him showed him smiling and healthy, married, with a lovely wife and three beautiful children. I could not find a full obituary. The funeral was in May.
I sat back in my chair, held the letter in my hand, and thought back to the short time I had known Garry when I was in Dallas. He was the sort of person that you only need to meet once and they impress you for a lifetime. He had sent me his form letter update -- but he had also taken the time to write a short note to me at the bottom of his letter:
Bill, I'm trying to get hold of a 'mug' for your mum. How are you mate? Please stay in touch. I'm fine - a lot of things going on - but still want to come back your way some time. Stay kool for the King, Bill. Sincerely Garry
I folded the letter up, stared out the window for a few minutes, and placed the letter among some other keepsakes. We didn't keep in touch, and I have no idea whether he ever came back to the states. The few details I could locate seemed to show he had become busy with a family and his ministry and until I see him again in Heaven, I'll have to be content with that.
Life is incredibly short but the journey is full of wonderful things. I'm thankful for the moments I had to chat with Garry and for the honor of knowing him. Not only will we enjoy the presence of the Savior when we find ourselves "finally home", but we can also look forward to those reunions that I'm sure will take place in the streets and dwellings of the place He has gone to prepare for us (John 14:2).
Well done, Garry. See you there, mate!