Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Eulogy for Kenneth David Tucker
The hardest thing I have every done in ministry by far was to preach the funeral on January 31, 2011 of my best friend David Tucker. I can not imagine my life without him in it. I held on only because so many people who knew David and didn't know David were surrounding me in prayer, I was able to somehow with God's strength make it through it. In reflection, it was my gift to my best friend, whom I love, and will miss. Some friends who loved David could not make it to his service I posted it at their request. I pray they too can find some sort of healing.
I, like you, do not want to be here this afternoon, what I just recalled are some of the facts that surround the life of David Tucker but they do not reflect the impact David had on the lives of us who have gathered here this morning. Each of us who know David, come from many different walks of life. The common thread that weaves us together here in the place is the love we held for David and the pain that is left from his passing. What we feel now; the pain, the shock, at the loss of David only represent 2% of the totality of exactly who Kenneth David Tucker.
Because it is fresh, because it is painful, because our love for David runs so deep, our human nature is to gravitate towards the two percent. We tend to focus only what is fresh in our minds. Our human nature is to fill the 2% with our own interjections. In the 2% we ask why, in the 2% we get angry; in the 2% we tend to interject blame, guilt, and frustration. In the 2% we begin to play the “what if” game? We replay our last conversation, the last time we shared a meal with him, the last time we saw that smile of his that light up the room. Filled with emotions, filled with pain, filled with fear of not knowing what it will be like without him in our life, we get stuck on the 2% of David that does not represent the totality of a man who touched our lives like no other. Because we are hyper focused on the raw emotion of the small amount we overlook the larger portion. Who we are, what we’ve accomplished in live, what David means to us cannot be overshadowed be the last 2% of his life. Our death does not define who we are or the impact we have left on others people’s lives.
All of us feel that deep void that is left as David has left us. 98% of who David was, what he meant to us, is represented in the memories and the time we spent with him. David was not a member of my congregation, or a guy I worked with or a casual acquaintance he was my best friend. When I focus on the 98% of David’s life I have to smile. David brought joy to everyone around him. When in a crowd people were always drawn to him. He had natural ability to make everyone feel at ease and to laugh. When I first met David it was my first day of second grade at Woodland Presbyterian Day School. I was the fat new kid and David was the first person to introduce himself to me. From that moment on we were somehow connected. I was the muscle and he was the brains as we ruled the playground. I knew I had made the right choice as David was far more mature for his age. He was our leader, the one we all looked up to, he was a natural leader, or it might be the fact that he was the only guy in fifth grade that could grow a full beard. He always had smile, always made me laugh and always accepted me for me.
David was loyal as he stood beside me as my best man when I married the love of my life. He broke into labor and delivery in a tux at 2:30 in the morning to hold my daughter for the first time. Throughout ever major event in my life David was present. He showed up at my Dad’s funeral although it made him so uncomfortable. It meant so much for me because I knew exactly how much David despised funerals. Whenever I needed him he was there, no questions, no judgment, and no expectations. David is legendary for the originator of the David Tucker Rule which has changed bachelor parties for many generations to come.
When we focus on the 98% percent we know David was generous, caring, and loving. He enjoyed life to the fullest and made do with what he had. When he didn’t have a sister, he adopted his cousin Brandy as his sister. Brandy that is why none of David’s friends would ever look you in the eye are ran off if you got within forty feet if us. David had threatened and warned us.When we look at the 98% percent we see a son who loved his parents, took care of his grandmother, loved two women in his life beside his mother, and more than anything loved being a father to Brennan. Every conversation contained somewhere the subject of Brennan. David loved everyone intensely, he was always there for you, and he always put others first and his only enemy was himself. I will now ask his cousin Brandy to come forward to say a few words from the family..
I ask you now to pause a moment, close your eyes, and reflect on your greatest memory of David.
David Tucker had many of you who he called friends. Friendships he cherished. I was not David only best friend, David was very proud of his best friend Mark Sledge who he loved dearly and would speak all the time of how he was jealous Marks career path. When I choose the path of minister later in life David was present when I preached my first sermon. From that moment on, I became David’s unauthorized theologian. Many of late night calls from his garage David would ask me questions of faith. David loved Christ and I shared with him my favorite scripture which quickly became his.
“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law and of death.” This is a scripture we talked about a lot. The word of God says there is NO condemnation. I told David if you find the real meaning of this scripture you had to look at the original Greek word for No. I told him to Google it and call me back. He called me back realizing what I did. If you look up the Greek word for No, it can be translated.. NO! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation, no blame, no disapproval, no criticism, no attach by God for those who are in Christ Jesus. As much as I love David Tucker I can say that David Tucker was not a perfect man. He had his faults, his weaknesses, and mistakes just like each and every one of us. But when we read this scripture we are reminded that through it all God grace is bigger than that. God’s love for David, God’s love for us, added to the graces of our Savior is bigger than the 2% of his death.
I Thessalonians 4:13
“But we do not what you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so you do not grieve as others do who have no hope.” I love this scripture as it does not tell us to get over the pain of losing our loved one. It tells us to grieve. It allows us to feel the pain, the anger, the confusion, the bargaining, and all the stages of grieving death. We are not to forget David or just get over it. We are to mourn but not mourn as those who have no hope.
We find that hope in the love and grace of our Savior. We mourn knowing that the promises of Christ transcend death with hope and assurance that we will be reunited with David once again.
Brennan there will be days you will miss you Dad, when you feel you are overwhelmed look around to all of us whose life was touched by your father. We will remind you of the 98%. Carol and Ken there will be days when you will miss you son, Jennifer, Laura, and Mark there will be days that you will miss David presence and company, and all who are here will have avoid that is left. But that is not the end. While David’s body is no longer useful, as his soul rejoices in heaven, his spirit remains in our hearts and minds, we hold on to the day by the promise of our Creator, we will be reunited once more. For me, my life has gotten a whole lot darker at losing my friend, but heaven has gotten brighter as I know my friend David Tucker is waiting there to greet me, the new fat kid. Amen.
In closing I would like to share a story David shared with many of us about when he was little. David would tell us a story many of you have heard when he was a little toddler. He and his parents had been shopping in a larger department store. David wanted a toy whistle. His parents told David no. David threw a tantrum, begged, asked nicely but still did not get a whistle. When David realized he was not getting a whistle we walked to the car without a word. He rode all the way home in the car without a word. The very moment his parents turned off the car, smile from the back seat, said… TWEEEEETTTTTTT!!!!.. David parents called the store, turned around, and drove back and made him confess to stealing the whistle. In this life David Tucker searched and desperately wanted something more than that whistle, that one thing was peace; he now has found it, in the arms of his Savior…