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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In Memory of Chris Oakley - Part 2

If you missed Part 1, click here.

Well, today was the memorial service for Chris. My brother-in-law, Ken, did the obituary, lead the congregational singing, and took care of the songs for before the services and after. The songs were beautiful. I had someone ask about the music...wondering who it was. The CDs used, if you are interested were ZOE Group, and Hallal,. (Some of their songs are on my playlist at the bottom of the "Shine Like Stars" home page.)There was one more, but it's at my husband's office and we can't remember the name.

My husband, Joe, did the rest of the service.  He wasn't sure what to say for the first few days.  The shock of Chris' death and the love we all felt for him, made it difficult.  He didn't want to be preparing a lesson for Chris' funeral.  He prayed about it and prayed about it.  Finally, God helped him to realize what he needed to do.  He needed to let Chris do his own funeral lesson.  Not in person, obviously, but by "Notes" he had written on Facebook.

Chris was amazing with words. When he was still in high school he would do devotionals from time to time.  His church family was always amazed at his knowledge and application of God's Word.  His "Notes" were insightful as well.  They were faith-based, and full of wisdom.  Here are some of the notes that were used during Chris' funeral.  Remember that he wrote all of these himself and he was only 20 years old.  Amazing.

What to Do? Part 1
by Christopher Micheal Oakley on Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 6:45pm.

Unfortunately life is full of struggles, and for many of us they are internal. I honestly believe that an external struggle is easier to deal with than a struggle against yourself. We can shield ourselves from external struggle and face them when we are prepared. (not in every case of course) We cannot, however, run from a fight against ourselves and our feelings. The human emotion is the most devastating weapon there is, but what happens when we are assaulted by our own emotions? It is very hard to deal with self conflict and when it is something that has been there dormant for years it can take even longer to finally overcome. More in part 2.

Joe commented between each note, giving scriptures that went along with each thought.  But, also he mentioned how that Chris didn't write out Part 2.  His death and his funeral service....that was Part 2.  He also told those in attendance that Chris would want all of us to learn something from his passing.  Here are more of Chris' thoughts from his Facebook Notes.

Past, Present, and You
by Christopher Micheal Oakley on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 2:02pm.

What if your entire life was about the worst thing you ever did? What if it was about where you began? In this age we never look where we are going only to where we have been. This makes us only look at where others have been as well. Why is it that we can hold someone else's failings against them but we can overlook ours? Life is too short to look back. Its also to short to live in the here and now. We must constantly forge ahead and look to the future, for in the future lays hope. The past is poor regrets, look only forward. Life too short, where do you stand?

Why, I mean really?
by Christopher Micheal Oakley on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 10:54am.

Why is it that when we see something we have to say something no matter what it is? We never take into consideration what we are about to say. What effects will it have, is it appropriate, and will it make the situation more positive? It always astounds me how insensitive the human race is. I am including myself in this just so that way no one thinks I am saying that I am perfect.

Even if the "problem" is small we have to interject our own opinions before we have even considered where the other person is coming from. If it happens to be that we don't agree we automatically tell the other person they are wrong.

For what reason is it? I personally believe that it is because humans think that it is their right to tell others when they are wrong.

This is the basis for all conflict, we are never willing to compromise, and when we do compromise we do not sacrifice our opinions. That is to say that we do not put our opinions to the test, that even when proven wrong we will stick to our guns. This is, in large part, due to an excessive amount of pride. We will not step down because if we do it means we were wrong, and we see wrong as being weak. Today's world won't accept this so called weakness.

I think another reason that things are pushed so far is that we are scared of change, which is understandable, but does it make it right? We must learn that if we are wrong it is okay. Something is only truly wrong if you do not learn from it. "Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes." - George Soros.

So which will you be a person who has made a mistake, a boastful person when you're right, or just flat out wrong? Personally I want to be the one who made a mistake, but fixed it in the end.

And finally, Chris wrote this poem. It was a perfect ending to his memorial service.

Dear God

by Christopher Micheal Oakley on Monday, July 12, 2010 at 9:21pm.

When I look back at all the things I have done
Even when when I was at my best
All I can see is what I never won
It seems to me life is just a test

But you are there for my rest
You know what I've done
And where I'll be at my best
You are the answer to my test

Now when I look back at what you have done
All I can see is all I have won
You will make sure im my best
For you give me the strength to pass the test.

Joe gave the challenge to everyone at the service to not forget Chris' words.  Chris was a young Christian who struggled, just like we all do.  He failed at times, just like we all do.  But, by his words, you can see that he realized the weaknesses he had, and he also realized that God was the only One who could help him.

I pray that we all learn something from Chris' death and his life.  Mostly I pray that those around his age will think about the choices they make and how it affects those around them. 

Think about how you would like to be remembered.  What will be said at your memorial service?

Who would have thought that a young 20-year-old would mostly write his own?

Thank you, God, for allowing so many of us the opportunity to know Chris Oakley.  He will be missed.  Thanks to all of you who have prayed for my family and for Chris' family and friends.  It is greatly appreciated.  Please continue to pray...especially for his family.


Cassandra Weed said...

Chris does have a lasting impact that can never die for the lives he have changed throughout time.

Lori said...

Thanks for your comment, Cassandra.

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