Yesterday we laid Tyler to rest.
I cannot express in words what it was like to see the gymnasium of our church full to the brim with people, people who loved and will miss Tyler. All the seats were full and there were people standing in the back. People spoke of Tyler's wisdom well beyond his 15 short years, his moral compass and his love of Jesus. I hope you don't mind I share some of the stories that were told about this remarkable teen. As my son said as we were leaving, the world needs more Tyler McGinns...and I hope to live like Tyler and love like Jesus in honor of him. Makes my heart swell that in the midst of all the sadness and disappointment that Tyler wasn't healed on this earth, that my son hasn't changed how he feels about God and will continue on the road lit with a holy light.
Tyler's Mom spoke of his love for others, and that he kept saying that he hoped people would come to know Jesus through his illness. I have no doubt that that wish was granted. There was a group on facebook called Pray for Tyler, and there are numerous testimonies of how people came to a decision about their faith through Tyler's struggles. His fight was not in vain. She shared a few stories, how she "stalked" Tyler on facebook...as a mother she wanted to know what he was doing, and she read a conversation that he had with a young lady who was in his class. He plead with her not to give in to a young man that she really liked, not to give away her purity because the guy wasn't being honest with her. He begged her to wait for her future husband because she was worth so much more than what the other guy had in mind. We don't know what she finally decided, but how many 15 yr old kids do you know who cared so deeply about another that he would risk anger and ridicule to spare her soul? He also asked another youth leader to befriend a friend of his who was not a Christian, he said he had known him a long time and never shared the gospel with him and shared that he was afraid he wasn't worthy of heaven because he had neglected this friend's soul. See, Tyler wanted all his friends to follow him to heaven so they could live together in eternity. A teacher shared that he came to her after a test and told her he needed to change an answer on the test. He had panicked in the middle and had looked at someone else's paper. When he had had time to think it over, he wanted to make it right. She thanked him for his honesty and wanted to reward him for his actions so said she wouldn't change the answer, they would overlook it this time. He argued with her until she corrected the test. He didn't want to live with the guilt that he had cheated and wouldn't let it rest until he had made it right. I have my own story of Tyler. While I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, I ran into him in the hallway at church one night when I went to pick up my son. He was with a group of kids, but he stopped and let them walk on and asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was doing well, but he touched my arm, looked me in the eyes and told me he was praying for me. I can't tell you how much that surprised me, he was friends with my son, but just the fact that he knew what struggles were happening in my life and that he took the time to pray astounded me. But that's just the kind of person he was.
It was so sad to think that Tyler, although he has a half sister, was the only child living at home. Their whole life for the past few months, has been wrapped up in Tyler and his illness. They were living in a hotel near the hospital to save them time so they didn't have to drive back and forth to their home. They became friends with doctors and nurses who cared for Tyler, who even came into their hospital room and prayed with them for their son. They even came to Tyler's funeral. Now they will be home, in a house full of reminders of their son, with no other distractions. My heart is breaking for them. But during Tyler's illness and during the funeral, Tyler's Mom had only one thing on her mind...to care how others were going to cope with Tyler's death. When my son gave her a hug and offered condolences, she hugged him hard and said "I'm sorry for your loss." SHE was sorry for my son's loss!! It's no wonder Tyler was the way he was, what a wonderful example he had in his parents. Their example makes me want to be a better parent. Tyler's illness and death were not in vain. Tyler's Mom asked his friends to keep in touch with her, she wanted to know when they graduated, what future plans they had, when they married, and had children. What an amazing woman she is! So now they need our prayers for peace and rest and strength.
So even though it is so very sad that Tyler left us all behind at such a young age, it was a celebration of sorts as well. We know that he is in heaven, praising the Lord and singing at the top of his lungs as he did here on earth. It may seem that our prayers were not heard, but he is healed, just not this side of heaven. We prayed that God's will be done, and His will was that Tyler should be with Him in heaven now, his work that he was meant to accomplish on this earth was done. We will miss him, but we will see him again. One of his friends had a dream after he died but before the funeral and shared it with his Mom. She said Tyler came to her and said, "Seek Him, and you will see me again." Hallelujah! Can't wait to give you a hug in heaven, Tyler!
5 years ago