I found out about the death of my cousin, Pastor Les Green of Nebo Crossing Church in Nebo, NC, on July 2 through social media. Les and I had drifted apart over the years. I can’t speak for Les, but I know I had become more involved with my life than the world I had left behind. Once I finally reconnected with Christ, too many bridges had been burned and it seemed almost impossible to reconnect with everyone from my past. Unfortunately, some of those bridges were with family. And one of the relationship casualties was with Les and Debbie.
The last time I saw Les and Debbie was briefly over thirty years ago at our Grandpa and Grandma Green’s house. I was coming in and they were leaving. A quick hello was all we shared. Then they were gone. Little did I know I’d miss out on some incredible life experiences.
I missed sharing in Les’ journey in knowing Jesus. I missed experiencing the protection gleaned from of Les’ wisdom as he served others in different churches across the country. How rich his stories must have been.
I missed the seeing the range of blessings he experienced through his marriage to Debbie (Rice) Green. I missed his pure joy and exhilaration that he lived through raising his girls, Tonya, Tammy, and Tiffany. I missed hearing them blend their voices as they praised God.
I missed how he took great joy in making each day count. I missed that he found his way through cancer, and through it all, maintained his incredible relationship with his savior. From listening to those who knew him best, it was clear to see that his first love was his savior and, oh, he basked in the knowledge that Jesus loved him, too.
I missed so much. But I celebrate in his legacy. I rejoice that I will see him again and worship alongside him. When he died he was loved by a mother, sister, and wife, along with his children/spouses, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. He loved and served up till the end. And he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Listening to Les’ celebration of life I heard it said, “Dad gave everything with Heaven in view.” If you listen to the service you will understand what filled Les’s heart and what keeps his family going still–it’s the love of Christ.
I look at his picture and I see resemblance to his lovely mother. I look again, and I see the face of our grandfather. Funny how that works.
I’m sorry I missed so much. From everything I’ve witnessed since his death, I now know his greatest song was his life. Until we meet again, Les, I’ll hold onto the fact that you love me even now. And Debbie, you will forever be in my prayers.
If you have a cousin or anyone in your past that you need to reconnect with, learn from my temporary loss. Celebrations of reconciliation can be sweet on this side of heaven, too.