I just received an email that has wrecked me to my core. Patrick Looney, a beloved mentor and friend died on Tuesday. Patrick was the Student and Associate Pastor at Millbrook Methodist Church during my middle school and high school years. For those of you that knew me then, you will remember him, but those who didn’t know me missed out.
He had an enormous influence on my spiritual life. No other man, outside of my own dad, had as much influence during those years than Patrick. He was there at some massively shaping moments.
He was the one that took me (with John Massey and Susan Massey Resar) to the Franklin Graham Youth Rally when I was a 10th grader where I heard the Gospel in a new way and fully committed my life to following Jesus.
He was in the hospital with my Mom at the moment that she had to decide to turn off the machines that were keeping my Dad alive. And he was with her when they came back to the house to tell me. He walked the road closely with us.
And he again walked the road with me as my Mother died about a year and a half later. Patrick was available, loyal, and loving to me during the most important times in my life.
But he was also there in some really great moments where he displayed his sense of humor and sensitivity. He once took Mikey Resar and I to an Acquire the Fire conference and explained the charismatic world to us when the girl in front us “fell out.” We were young spiritually, but he helped us understand it. He was always reminding me what an accomplished baseball player he once was, which I didn’t believe. J He also tried to make a point of telling me how good the Georgia Bulldogs were. He would try to come watch me play soccer, but we began to notice a pattern of us losing when he came. So, he thought he was cursed, but he still wanted to support me, so he would stand outside the gates thinking that somehow that didn’t bring on the curse. Patrick, in this great sense of humor, is the one that said of my Dad, at his funeral, “Wilbur could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves on a hot summer day.” I wonder what funny line will be crafted to describe him on Friday?
Patrick and I had spoken some this summer as I shared with him what our family was about to do. And then I got to see him in late August at an anniversary celebration at Millbrook Methodist. I hope that he had a little pride in knowing that the seeds he planted in me all those years ago were still being harvested and now planted into others.
Though I am completely broken-hearted today I know that when Patrick entered Heaven that many people greeted him that have been touched and influenced by his life. I now look forward to him greeting me there one day and me getting to thank him for what he has done in me.