The loss of Brian hasn't been something easy to come to grip with because it was like yesterday that I last spoke with him. Reading back on his LiveJournal posts has given me new insight into his life and greater appreciation for his part in mine. We were read a passage from his journal at his funeral by a family member. It was read as follows:
I've learned how to win at Generals and I've learned how to win at things like WoW. It took lots of failure, but eventually my talent and fighting spirit were replaced by talent, fighting spirit, and skill. You can't just will your way to the top because you want to win real bad. Everyone who wants to get to the top has that. You have to have the skills to get it done and the fighting spirit will propel that into victory. Ryoma Echizen proved that when he took town Jin Akutsu in the Regional Tournament. Akutsu sweats natural talent and ability, but not the will to win. Echizen did. However, if one of them wasn't truly skilled at what they did, it never would have been a contest.
In order to be a champion, it takes skill. It takes an indomitable fighting spirit. It also takes something else.
Scripture and revelation from God has given me the answer. Look at the two major personalities that define me. What makes Ranma Saotome the unstoppable fighting force that he is? It's his devotion to martial arts. That's all he does. He never slacks off on his training and he always goes at it win the intensity of a winner. What makes Ryoma Echizen the "Prince of Tennis"? Yeah, he's got talent. Yeah, he's got the "samurai spirit" to win... but it's his devotion to tennis that makes him the best. He plays all the time and improves. It's what he devotes his life to.
Chapter 11 in the book of Isaiah talks about one whom the Spirit of the Lord rests upon. Verse five says "Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist." Righteousness is an important thing that sums up several character traits we should aim for, but think about this "garment." Righteousness is held up by faithfulness! Being faithful to something is what keeps it held up. It's what brings everything together. That's the key! Right now, my commitments are too scattered and spread out to really be effective. If I want to be a winner, a champion that really makes a difference in the world, I'm going to have to pick some things and commit my life to them. That starts with a commitment (being faithful to) God, since His will is what matters the most anyway. But through that, what else? I can no longer say that since my life is devoted to God that all the things I choose to do - no matter how many things it is or what they are (which is the way I've been acting) - I will excel at since I'm doing it for God. That clearly is not the case. I'm going to have to chose a select few things and truly devote myself to them -- for myself and for others, but most importantly for the Glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.
So the question then becomes... what will those things be?
You can read the entire post at his LiveJournal: http://www.livejournal.com/users/xenosiggy/8135.html.
He shared many of the same difficulties I've experienced in Computer Science, namely the Calculus woes, and so I feel to have a greater connection to his life, if only by mere coincidence, if not more. I feel the connection to his reference of Isaiah 11:5, which is reminded me of my earlier blog post on living in the light. The verse especially Ephesians 6:14, "So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate." For righteousness and truth, the truth that Christ is our Lord and Savior, go hand in hand as does faithfulness. So for whatever caused me to connect Isaiah 11:5 and Ephesians 6:14, I am thankful to the Lord for.
Finally, I must track back to Ephesians 6, for which I have reread today. The final verse of the chapter, Ephesians 6:24, speaks out to me on how we all should approach our brothers in Christ, wherever they may be:
"Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in immortality."
This verse gives me comfort that he is with the Lord because I have seen Brian have such a love for Christ with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind. For this reason alone do I know that grace has been given to him. And for this I am comforted in knowing this.
Life is such a journey, with so many trials but so many gifts along the way. For this I pray to the Lord to give me strength along the way, so that I may better serve Him.