Why? Why not!?!

Rest in Peace, Adam

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I’ll mention my jury duty tomorrow, partially because I haven’t completed the case (have to go back tomorrow), but there’s a more important reason.

Last night or this morning, Adam Goren, a student at the Seminary where I used to work, and someone I do call a friend, passed away.

He was found dead in his bathroom. All indications lead to it being of natural causes. But it’s strange to me — not strange in an “I don’t believe it really was of natural causes” way, but strange in a theological or religious way.

Adam, who was only 27, was a Senior at VTS. He was preparing to take his GOE’s (General Ordination Exams) in January, and would be a practicing minister once he graduated this coming May. But Adam wasn’t your averagely-perceived Seminary student. Adam would have a beer with you (actually, he would race you in chugging beers), and Adam would use curse words, and Adam would organize Poker Tournaments. And I don’t think that there’s a thing wrong with anyy of those. See, I think that might have been part of Adam’s approach to getting the word of God out to people — by being a buddy, by being “real”, and by not being “preachy”. He spent some time with the Theology department at Episcopal, and had (I believe) hopes of working with the School Ministry.

And Adam was a great guy, too. He frequently helped us out with catering events, and would always make time to come back and speak to every single member of the kitchen. He’d even “flirt” with Mrs. Hazel, to make Pedro “jealous” — they both were playing, but it was great to have that kind of comraderie there.

And I don’t understand why someone with the potential to change so many people’s lives for the better, to bring people closer to God, has been taken from us. It doesn’t seem like it’s the best use of Adam and his now-unable-to-achieve potential. It’s also hard to believe that I just saw him on Sunday — seemingly in perfect condition — and now he’s no longer with us. I’m simply shocked.

I don’t proclaim to understand God’s will or God’s plan. But I do have faith that everything He does is for a reason. I’ll probably never know (at least while I’m alive) why God took Adam away from us, but when God does eventually explain it to me, it’ll make perfect sense.

But, even still, I’m sad.

And even though I know where Adam is right now, and that he’s absolutely happy, I still miss him.

Rest in Peace, Adam.

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Hi. I feel really weird doing this. I haven't ever met you or anything, but I wanted to sincerely thank you for what you wrote about Adam. He was my best friend. We met on an inter-faith mission trip to New Mexico and were in the same "tribe." Our connection was instant and we were sad to leave, but talked nearly every day on the phone (I'm from Kansas City). I even went to VTS to see him occasionally. When Adam's friends from school called me to tell me about his death, the news of course was absolutely devastating. It's still so surreal, not just because I talked to him the night he died, but because here in Kansas City, nobody really knew Adam. Nobody understands him the way you so perfectly described his mischief and un-yielding approach to life and relationships. That makes it hard. It's hard to explain to people how wonderful Adam was. I guess I'm just missing the "corporate grief" that people talk about in situations like this. It's just so hard to limit Adam to words. Anyway, thanks again. Your stories made me laugh, something I'm not doing much anymore without him. They made me cry too, because somewhere there are lives that were never touched the way Adam touched ours. Thanks.

(Originally posted December 31, 2004 04:32 PM)

As you can imagine, Adam's loss was very hard on the whole VTS community, and on all those he touched. VTS had a memorial service for him on Friday, December 17 -- it was a beautiful mix of high church and modern church (sorry, I'm not a Seminarian, so I don't know the exact wording). The program was very fitting of Adam and his personality -- on the front, it had a picture of Adam dancing -- one hand behind his head, one hand holding his leg up behind him,
after making a Strike or Spare while bowling. The picture itself showed Adam's love for life and his great sense of humor. And on the back of the program was a simple picture of the Texas A&M flag hanging above Aspinwall Hall at VTS during Commencement. That picture obviously depicts where Adam came from, and what he loves. The title of the program was something along the lines of "Remembrance of our Brother in Christ, Adam Goren."

The service began with a student playing Amazing Grace on the piano. And then, a gentleman got up, removed his blazer, revealing his VTS Flag Football jersey (another group Adam was a part of), and he proceded to play a song on the guitar that he had written for Adam.

The Dean herself, and Bishop Dyer gave a wonderful service. A good friend of Adam's, a former student at VTS, gave the gospel. And when communion was given, 4 people presented the bread and wine: Adam's ex-girlfriend, another really close friend of Adam's, and 2 employees of the dining services (that's where I worked, and I know how much Adam meant to those particular ladies, Roberta and Betty -- Adam even took Roberta to the VTS version of their prom in a past year).

There were several times in the service where I could no longer hold back the tears. And I was absolutely amazed at how strong, supportive, and held-together the entire VTS Community was during this time of grief. I have no idea how they kept their composure during some of the sadder times of the service (or even during those random times of the day when you'd just expect to see Adam or when something reminds you of him).

Bishop Dyer touched me with a simple idea: When we get to heaven, we'll see Adam again -- and when we get there, Adam will be easy to find... just listen for his unmistakable laugh.

(Originally posted December 31, 2004 04:39 PM)

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