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My friend, Chris Wynn died on January 7, 2014. We had been friends since I was four years old. We lived two houses down from each other and fought like brother and sister. But, like most siblings, at the end of the day things resolved and we were buddies again.
From ninth grade on, we went to different schools but remained close. Chris introduced me to my husband, for which I told him I was forever indebted. He reminded me often that I could never repay him. This was just one example of his sense of humor that rubbed some people the wrong way if they didn’t know him very well. But he would usually win them over with his jokes. After high school we both took different paths. The path he chose was difficult for him and brought years of heartache, but God was shaping him….preparing him for what would come to pass in his life.
Chris was a great baseball player throughout his high school career. He could hit a curve ball like no one else I knew. Two years ago, Chris was thrown a huge curve ball. He was in a horrible wreck that left him paralyzed. He shared with me shortly after his wreck that he remembered being in his car, then he was going down a hallway with a light behind a door when a voice said to him, “We are not ready for you yet, Chris; you still have some work to do.” The next moment he realized that he was in a care flight helicopter, and he was told about the wreck. At that moment, Chris was forever changed physically and spiritually. Even though he was in a wheelchair he was not disabled, not in the way you may think. Chris became a follower of Christ. He stopped being a fan of Christ and started being a witness for Him. Whenever he talked to anyone, he always spoke of Jesus. And wherever he went, Chris always shared the gift of Salvation with anyone who would listen. He realized that he had work to do for the Lord….and he did it with the kind of passion that left no regrets or soul untouched.
His parents and family members loved him very much and cared for him after the wreck. His girlfriend was a huge blessing to him, helping with his daily needs, as well. Chris had many friends who visited, prayed with, and wanted to encourage him. However, it was Chris who left them feeling encouraged and inspired as they said their goodbyes. He did not complain about the condition he was; he pushed through and persevered through it all.
Chris went into a coma from complications of pneumonia on a Monday and died the following day. Just two days before his passing, Chris witnessed to a little girl in his family about Christ. God had one more thing for Chris to do and he followed through.
Life is full of trials and tribulations, but it is also full of blessings. One thing we know for sure is that life here on earth is short. The Bible describes life as a “vapor” (James 4:14). In the end, there are two dates and a dash (Welch). We all have a job to do, a purpose to fulfill. Through Chris’s life I have learned the importance of relationships: Say what needs to be said, visit those who need to be visited, forgive those who need forgiveness, and live out the DASH! Zig Ziglar said, “It’s not how you start…it’s all in how you finish”, and Chris finished well! Rest in Peace, my friend. You have made me want to be a better person.
By Wendy McNeal, eParisExtra columnist, of Oasis
Wendy McNeal is the owner and therapist of Oasis Counseling & Consulting (Synergy C&C, LLC). Wendy isa Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups using Christian values and principles. She also provides consultation services that include seminars, retreats workshops to clinicians, industry, agencies, and professional organizations. Wendy received her BSW in 2000, and MSW in 2008 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is a member of the American Associations of Christian Counselors. Wendy has worked in community mental health for more than a decade. She has clinical experience in child/adolescents, geriatrics, and community based based outreach.