It was a very harried morning one Sunday as I rushed to get my 5 kiddos ready for church. I didn't want to go. I was pregnant, I was tired, but the Preece's just did not miss church- so here we were. I heard mentioned in the hallways through out the week that we would have a guest speaking. Yay. Wonder what excuse I can use to get out of church early was the only thought in my head. (Did I mention I was tired, pregnant, and had 5 KIDS. I did? Well, just so you know.) The man that stood up to speak captivated me by his very presence. He began talking about his life, his love of Christ, and regaled us with stories from his experience as an Olympic swim coach and of the fascinating people he worked with. I was awestruck. This man was fabulous. He was a man who truly lived for and loved Christ. Immediately after church, a group of us gathered for lunch and I learned that this man was not only a guest speaker but they were new members to our humble small town church. Through the next year or so I had the opportunity to get to know the man and to a greater extent, the man's wife, Ms. June. I loved watching the slide shows of their mission trip to India with a team from church (btw, this was the 2nd mission trip I missed because I was pregnant!). He was headline news in that country and used his celebrity to reach many who any other time wouldn't give the time of day to a missionary. They were such wonderful people, that most of the time when I found myself in a crowd of people at church I naturally gravitated to them. June, Richard's wife (who was a MOPS mentor), made me want to be a better mother and wife. Richard made me want to be a better Christian, even though I'd probably only spoken to the man once.
In December this fabulous man was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away this past week. I am sad. Not sad for him, he knew where he was going and was probably eager to get there. Not for his family, who knows that they'll join him one day. But for all those who never got to meet the man. Because, if you only met the man once, he would have left a lasting impression.