It was just 2 weeks ago when our church and first family experienced this huge blow to our hearts. We lost one of the most passionate, quick witted, fast-talking, hilarious, resourceful, wise, inspiring, hardworking, genuine, down to earth, LOVING, inclusive, unselfish persons that you'd ever want to meet. He was life, charisma, laughter and joy all packed into one man. I can assure you that wherever he was, there were smiles... often, a result of his antics or - encouraging words.
I called him Uncle Swann Swann... We weren't related.
Within the week that he passed, it seemed like everyone had at least one good story (or plenty) of the thrill he could bring to any moment in time. You didn't have to know him to love him because to MEET him, was to love him.
This was a man whose voice you'd hear in the church foyer - assertive, yet playful, towering over the giggles he often wound up. A man who saw and spoke to the potential in the unlikely, the caterpillar - the person who had yet to bloom..the shy and gifted, but guarded. He lit fires in our hearts and made us pick up the pace. He built us up with words of love, persuasion, persistence, and confidence.
He loved the butterflies, too. He was a breath of fresh air.
He carried our bags. He called us beautiful. He told us to start our businesses and follow our dreams. He'd set up. And break down. He gave us rides and stomachaches from laughing. He kicked people OUT when the church was closing, and let people in as they waited for their rides. He'd urge & implore us to acknowledge our greatness. He told the truth until we didn't want it any more. Some days you'd catch him crying, humbled by the presence of God. He always said that life was short, you had to laugh, and you'd better enjoy yourself. He wanted us to trust and give ourselves to the gifts that God had given us. He wanted us to be happy.
He let people in...and made us feel like it was safe to come out.
This awesome creation, could only be himself.
He didn't settle for imitation; neither did he want to..
He loved without withholding. And this is what I've learned..
Life... really is too short, for you to leave here and have people not agree on anything but good things about you.He never led a ministry, but gave himself to so many of them. He was never ordained, and he had no title, but LEGACY, yes. Legacy? Definitely. No followers on Instagram. Never retweeted. But there was standing room only at his homegoing... standing room only.
His LIFE - how he treated people, spoke so loudly, and for itself. No pulpit, or badge, cloak, or collar could give him what was already inside... to really live like Jesus, was to love like Jesus; to seek out, and encourage, and serve from the heart, to admonish, and guide, give high-fives and free hugs...:)
When we lose one of our favorites - there's only one thing left to do.
You'll have to become one of mine. I'll have to become one of yours...
When we lose one of our favorites, what else is there to do? But keep loving each other..
With joy, sincerely.
Not withholding... and why would we?
Are we afraid to love without restraint because then we'd have to live with our love? ... the depth of our love? ..the joy and the hurt that could come with our love? Are we afraid that it won't be returned in the way that we envisioned?
Gregory Swann wasn't afraid of his love - neither were we.
He took the lid off love.
He took the lid off laughter...
Now, even the more, we ought to bring the sunshine into each others' lives. It's more than what he would want. It's exactly what he did.
I can't speak to the great amount of fun and love I'm sure he brought his relatives in the years before I knew him.. but I do know that I was blessed to encounter someone of his kind for just about ten... he was so genuinely concerned about my life's course almost as if I were his real niece -- never sparing an opportunity to say something that would challenge or cheer me on.
When we lose one of our favorites, we remember how important it is to love without restraint --- how imperative it is that we live our own truths, and that most times, our entire existence has little to do with us and so much more to do with the imprint of love we leave, so much more to do with how people feel when they're with us, so much more to do with the great and lasting influence we have on those with whom we come into contact daily..
When we lose one of our favorites, we are reminded that transition - from this earth to the eternal, will happen to the BEST of us. It will hurt, for the rest of us... but life, was never supposed to be but more than a vapor. My tomorrow and your tomorrow, really isn't promised.
For the moments we've got left, we ought to make them count. Love hard. Love for real. So when transition comes - from this earth to the eternal, if Jesus was our model... He'll make a great escort.
My solace is knowing that I'll see Swann Swann again.. He is in heaven laughing, I'm sure, ... and I'm on my way.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, their deeds follow them!”