I was already struggling. But then I got the news that Jake died.
Of course I would go to the memorial service in Kankakee as painful as it would be flying into O’Hare under the circumstances. It would be traveling into an area with such good memories that are quickly tarnishing by adding even more painful ones.
Jake is a good man who knew the Lord and struggled openly and honestly with mental health was getting better and I am glad I got to see it. But he was feeling crushed by the weight of it all.
His family and friends are devastated by this loss. He was memorialized not as a saint – but as an imperfect man who embodied works of mercy and a gift for finding people on the margins who needed to be noticed and loved.
I wish it didn’t need to be this way.
Jake’s father wrote this moving tribute for his son and had his brother read it at the memorial service. It crushed me and encouraged me. It’s worth a read.
“Some people are Blessed by God to receive a Loving, Caring, Compassionate heart. One who sees the pain and struggles in others and does not hesitate to help. My son Jacob was one of those Blessed people. Yes, he could be stubborn, impulsive and a bit of a bug to most around him, in a playful way. Yet, he always saw that individual off to the side in need of some care and compassion when we didn’t. He was always there to provide a hug, a safe place. This desire to help everyone exposes them to the pain and suffering of rejection. While our Lord instructed his Apostles to shake the dust from their sandals, my son may not have grasped that concept.
All too often, the good people in this world have interior issues that go unseen yet rule their daily lives. My son had difficulties understanding rejection. He was also terrified of not living up to the expectations of those he respected. Unfortunately there are those in this world that cannot see the pain they create by rejection, or the way it is done. When that individual uses acquaintances to inflict additional pain, embarrassment and suffering, through their influence with powerful organizations, the results can be fatal.
I have a very strong Faith in God. I believe he has a purpose for everything. I may never know why my son was taken from me long before what should have been his allotted time. I believe it may have been Gods way of providing me an example of a proper Love that would be impossible for me to forget. If I am to show respect for my son, I must amend my life by performing more outward acts of Love and Compassion for those who hurt. For those who know me, you understand how difficult this will be given my irrational fear of cooties from hugs…
When Jacob was suffering, I begged him to turn to God for solace. I truly don’t believe he ever turned his back to God, given his nature I believe he was a hidden soldier of God. In the last days, he did become increasing prayerful and attentive at Church. I always mentioned Forgiveness is the Path to Freedom. He’d always say “I know dad, I have forgiven her”. Unfortunately, he still held anger issues with the system that seemed to want to destroy him. Our current system in the United States does not know how to help those in anguish.
No, my son was no Saint, far from it, as we all are. I do believe he was a little bit closer than I though. If you knew my son, the best way to honor his life is to perform works mercy to achieve just that little extra bit. It is the only way to combat this unforgiving spiteful world we inhabit.
No words can express my pain. I will miss you son. This world will miss you. I can only pray I have the strength to achieve that little extra bit so I may move a little closer to being the man you were.
Stay with me Jake and hold my hand on this journey.”
The Right Rev. Dr. Jon I “Jack” Lumanog is an Anglican Bishop in good standing with the Apostolic Communion of Anglican Churches and the leader of The Anglican Diocese of St. Ignatius Loyola. A pastor and evangelist at heart, Dr. Jack Lumanog has planted, revitalized and pastored churches, traveled internationally to teach pastors and church planters and was a denominational leader for 7 years with executive level oversight for over 1,000 congregations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.