In my post Renewal of the Soul and Heart, I shared my anticipation of getting away for vacation. This trip would involve time in the Smoky Mountains, walking by mountain streams and listening to God speak to me. It also included going on down to the beach and watching the waves come in and come out. I shared that when I watch the waves of the ocean come in and out that they remind me of God bringing in new and washing away old. The waves also remind me of how we breathe in and breathe out.
This week I have been on that much-anticipated vacation. However, before leaving for our trip, our family received so very devastating news. Our son, Drew Hawkins lost his best friend, Josh who was more like a brother to Drew in high school than friend. Drew and Josh ran cross-country and track together. They were training buddies with Josh pushing Drew to rise to and beyond his potential in each race they ran. Josh was serving in the Navy and based in San Diego when he was swimming two weeks ago and got caught in a rip tide. It has been something that our entire family cannot get our heads around and comprehend.
As Jim and I walked on the beach yesterday, the story of the gentleman running on the beach and throwing star fish back in the ocean came to mind. The story chronicles a young man running on the beach and on this beach are many star fish. When star fish are out of water for a long period of time they will eventually die. So, to not see this happen this young man begins to one by one throw star fish back into the ocean one at a time. As he was doing this, a gentleman approaches this young man and ask; “what are you doing?” The young man replied;‘putting the star fish back in the water so they won’t die.” The gentleman responds; “but there are many, there is no way you can save all these star fish.” The young man replied as he picked up another star fish and throwing it into the ocean; “yes, but I made a difference with that one.” Needless to say, the gentleman had no response to this young man’s reply.
Josh Yeckering reminds me of that young man running on the beach. Josh touched lives wherever he went. He saw potential in people. Josh encouraged others to rise to and beyond their potential. He left his mark on this earth and on many people. One by one, he made a difference in each person’s life he encountered. Our son, Drew was one of those people Josh encouraged, placed challenge on top of challenge when it came to Drew’s running and his life’s ambitions. My husband and I know part of Drew’s character was molded out of this close friendship with Josh.
This next Monday, Josh will be home where family and friends will join together to pay tribute to this young man who was taken all to soon. There is no doubt in my mind that one star fish after another will share how Josh made a difference and an impact on their lives. Though Josh has left this earthly world, he left a legacy among those who knew him well. It is up to each one of us who knew and loved Josh to carry on with his legacy. The legacy is to one by one make a difference in someone’s life, encourage others to rise to their potential and beyond, and to love each person we encounter.
So, how about it? There are many star fish awaiting to be thrown back in the water, wanting to survive what the world puts before them and simply needing that encouragement to rise to their potential and beyond. I challenge you to one by one make a difference on someone’s life and the world. Along with this challenge, remember that each one of us leave a mark on other’s lives as well, as long as we are on this earth.
In the words of Paul; “Do you not know that who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown. Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, least when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Josh, you encouraged others not only in their training in running but in their training in life. You ran the perfect race. Now, you have crossed that final finish line and without a doubt have received your prize.
This post is dedicated to Joshua Yeckering taken from us too soon but forever remembered.