Twelve years on this date you went home to be with Jesus. In the Bible, twelve can represent completeness.

Even though your spirit left a broken and battered body on an Iraqi desert floor, you were ushered into an eternity of completeness.

I remember you sitting at my breakfast table, preparing to go on your first deployment to Iraq. As a retired Army Master Sergeant, I knew that your being an infantryman meant facing death every day. As your father, I confess at times that possibility struck dread in my heart.

I remember asking you, “Are you sure about this son?” You looked at me, like, “Not you too Dad.” He knew that I knew what it meant to be a soldier and finally getting the chance to do for what you train.

I’ll never forget your answer: “Dad, I joined to kill terrorists. They attacked us. This is my generation’s fight.”

“This is my generation’s fight…”

I still get a plethora of emotions when I recall your words. I now realize that was the first time I knew without any doubt that you had become a man. You knew your purpose in life. God had made you a warrior. You would prove yourself true to that calling over two combat tours.

Twelve in the Bible is a perfect number and it symbolizes God’s power and authority. We often talked about our personal relationships with Christ. I shared in my book Man Up! What the Bible Says About Being A Man how you struggled with your Christian walk while facing death each day.

After 12 years of reliving our conversations and rereading your many words of correspondence between us that you reached a level of spiritual completeness most Christian men will never achieve.

You were my best male friend for the last 2 years of your life. You used to bless me when you would call and say, “Dad, I need some godly advice.”

I weep every time I write and speak of that. They are tears of joy and longing. Joy because I know every Christian dad dreams of their son speaking those words to him. Longing, because I miss our fellowship.

I miss you.

I haven’t lost you.

I know where you are.

I’ll be there when my time comes.

We’ll have a lot of catching up to do.