I was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook, remembering Aaron and all he had meant to her (and to all of us).
Here's what I will remember:
~ his love and desire for the youth. I'm sure we were annoying and I know we got on his nerves a lot. But he took the time. He so wanted us to love God the way he did
~ if it hadn't been for Aaron, I'm not sure how I ever would have gotten to know Shawn better. He was always telling me how awesome (awesome was said a lot) Shawn was - like his little brother, he really knows what he's doing, he may be one of the few guys who has it all together and truly loves God, he's a good kid. on and on.
~ "The Wall"... that thing was awesome. That alone probably consisted of all the memories we could ever have with each other and with him
~ how he always encouraged me to keep following Jesus
~ how he wanted us all to always be friends and to stop treating each other the way we sometimes did. "Why can't you all just get along and love each other like Jesus?" Sadly, we are not all friends anymore. But, I'll forever hold those memories - they truly were some of the best times of my life.
~ how he told the truth. "Guys are jerks anyway. You're wasting your time" Bluntly, yes - but always out of love. Aaron kept me accountable and had no problem telling me that I was screwing things up. I hated it at the time, but looking back - he may have been one of the only ones who was truly honest with me. And, I'll always appreciate that about him.
~ he bought a 15 passenger van just so he could drive us all over... which brings up memories of Creation, concerts, dinners, movies, the Harbor, Teens Alive - anywhere and everywhere
~ one summer, I swear we were mostly all together every day
~ he let us all crash at his house almost every weekend. I have no idea how much pizza, junk food, and soda was consumed, but our parents would probably have had heart attacks
~ Aaron's box of cds with music none of us had ever heard of - very, very random
~ how he always made sure everyone (or, at least as many as possible) got included and involved
~ all of us girls (except maybe Kelly ;) were told "you're pretty cool for a white chick." Shawn now says that to me all the time - and when he said it the other day - oh man...
~ "You can't always get what you waaaaant" - any time we'd complain...
~ tie dye shirts and converses - he definitely passed that on to Shawn (much to my chagrin)
~ always being dropped off last and thankful that I lived near him so that I'd end up getting some time to talk to him. He was always willing to listen and to talk - always supportive, even when I didn't listen to what he had to say
~ his laugh
~ his wedding to Lauren = fun weekend
~ telling me (multiple times) not to let Shawn quit working for Mr. Blake
~ telling Shawn how he bet he'd hate going to school and being a nurse, so why bother
~ he was an usher in our wedding and breaking it to him that he had to wear a suit (but not a tux - never a tux ;)
There are many more - and I'm sure, after the service tomorrow night, I'll have more to add. Without Aaron, a lot of kids probably would have stopped coming to youth group - or never even have wanted to come. But, he made sure everyone got there - and encouraged more and more to come. He was so much fun and we all loved being around him.
He is one of the people who has impacted me the most. I am not sure I ever would have known how important being close to God really is. I might never have spent time with Shawn or had him as my best friend.
Aaron was just so awesome - and he will really be missed.