Last week, the son of dear friends was killed in an auto accident. 26 years old. A lot of life left to live. Chris Kuykendall was a beautiful young man. I don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. He was a great friend to many, always with an uplifting word of encouragement for all. He was a good man with good moral values. His death seems so senseless to me. But as I was reminded at his memorial service on Monday, whether we live to be 26 or 126, in light of eternity, it is but a blip on the radar. Hundreds of people were at that service. Lives touched by Chris. By his laughter, his encouragment and his friendship. He made good use of those 26 years.
His friends set up an “In Loving Memory of Chris Kuykendall” page on Facebook. It’s incredible to read what all his friends have to say about him. He’s described with words like “genuine, welcoming, overwhelmingly kind, a gentle giant, a blessing, encourager, compassionate, man of truth.” One person even said, “He was never in a bad mood.” How many of us could have those things said about us? He leaves behind a great legacy for his short 26 years. I can’t help but wonder how much more he could have done if he’d had 60 more.
He also leaves behind a lot of grieving people. I’ve thought a lot about his mother this past week. This is not the natural order of things. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. His grandparents would say the same. But they are also celebrating the blessing of having Chris here for those 26 years!
Chris on the day he went flying with my dear hubby. He couldn’t stop smiling!
The news report said he was driving just a bit too fast for the curve in the road. His jeep couldn’t handle the turn and it rolled. Nobody got to him in time to save him. I think of my own nephew who is about the same age. He always drives too fast. I’m sure he thinks he’s infallible, but Chris’ death proves that nothing is certain.
Any one of us could find out tomorrow that we have cancer. Or worse. And our lives would be forever changed. Would we do anything different today if we knew what tomorrow holds? Would Chris have done anything different if he’d known it would be his last day on earth? I have a feeling he would not. He was working at a ranch near Bryan, Texas – a place that’s described as being a “home for boys and girls who might not have any place else to go.” Chris was described by a worker there as “really good with the kids on the ranch. He would take time to listen to them and help them with any issues they were having.” Chris was there because he had a passion to help change children’s lives. Does it get any better than that kind of service? He wrote in his journal just days before that this job was just exactly where he was supposed to be. He was being a servant to others by faithfully being obedient to his God.
I salute you, Chris. Heaven is a better place now that you’ve arrived there. Oh, that we all could make as big an impact on the world as you have. And may your death be a reminder to us all of just how fragile our lives really are.
We miss you, Chris.