Last Monday I told you about a friend who ran 163.8 miles. This Monday I must tell you about another friend. He ran his final mile last Thursday evening.
I am on the Board of Directors of the Northwest United Methodist Foundation. We had been looking for the perfect person to serve as our Chief Financial Officer and at our fall meeting we decided we had founded him. We extended an invitation to a man with a most impressive record in raising and managing money, Barry Morris.
I met Barry one month ago today, March 7, at our spring meeting in Seattle. His was the first hand I shook after I got off the plane. The Director of the Foundation, Tom Wilson, Barry, and I stopped for breakfast on the way to the meeting. It was a most enjoyable conversation. I learned that one reason Barry took our job was the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. He is from Houston, Texas. We talked about places he had to see, one of which he would see at our summer meeting, scheduled for Black Butte Ranch in my old stomping grounds of Central Oregon. He moved out here by himself. His wife needed to wrap up her job and his two daughters needed to complete their school year. They were eager to join him and start their new family adventure.
We also talked about running. I learned that he is a runner. We agreed that the Pacific Northwest is a runner’s paradise. He told me that running in Houston in the summer is awful. I had kind of figured that out for myself already. He said he wanted to run his first marathon. We agreed to run together some time soon. Maybe at Black Butte Ranch.
I checked e-mails Friday evening. There was one from Tom Wilson. I read the first sentence and nearly fell out of my chair. Barry Morris was dead. He had joined a running group. It was a group that would help him prepare for his first marathon. Thursday evening was their first run. It was during that run that Barry collapsed. It was an apparent heart attack.
I would really appreciate it right now if you would stop whatever you are doing and say a prayer for Barry’s wife and two daughters. I don’t even know their names. I can’t imagine what it was like for them when they heard the news and what it will be like for them as they go on without their husband and father.
Thank you for being there so I could share my grief with you. There is no easy way through the shocking tragedies of life. The only way is to hold on to each other and to feel God holding on to us.