Today, the world lost a good man. Chase Hilton, formerly a Lincoln FFA Ag Teacher, died today. How is not important. Why is not important.
When I had Mr. Hilton as an Ag Advisor, I adored him! He was charismatic, fun, extremely good at his job, and an all around good guy. But I’ll be honest, after he left Lincoln I spent some time mad at him because it was easier. I was mad because I felt he left things unfinished. I was mad because I saw my friends loosing a mentor, a hero even. I was mad. But now the time for being mad is over. Now I can only feel guilt. Guilt for being mad and making sure people knew about it. Shame for not saying hello when I would see him at contests. Sadness for not making sure he knew how much God loved him. Why do we do that? Why do we always wait until it’s too late to be authentic. We’re very good at being transparent and making things about ourselves. Only sharing what we want the other to know. But authenticity, the building of relationships, we wait on. And then we loose the chance to have a true friendship.
For Mr. Hilton, I pray he knew the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. I hope that he did and that he is in Heaven roping the Saints (because Lord knows if there was anything with legs around- he would rope it).
For his family, I pray that they find comfort and peace. Losing a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a mentor, a teacher is never easy. It knocks the breath out of you. It breaks you. Death was meant to break us, brokenness is what points us to Christ. I pray that Rana knows how much Mr. Hilton loved her and never forgets it. I pray that she finds the words to explain this tragedy to their baby girl. I pray that his daughter knows how much her daddy loved her. I pray she remembers the good times and can learn to laugh at the bad.
For them, it will be a hard fight that they will have for a long time. For the family, it will be an uphill battle. It will be hard, but they’ll survive. It will never stop hurting, but it will dull. The good memories will outshine the bad, and they’ll be able to smile and laugh remembering all the funny things he did.
It is for the ones left behind I pray tonight. Know that my heart breaks for you. You are not alone. You are loved. Today, death may have won the battle- but it looses the war. Christ has already defeated the grave and for that I praise God- even in light of this tragic event.
“O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?” 1 Cor 15:55