|last picture we ever took together at OM v. AU 2012|
I knew Chris at Auburn through a mutual friend, but we weren't close. Friends, but not hang out one on one buddies, partly because we were only at Auburn for one year together, partly because I was in a relationship and engaged. But Chris moved to Tupelo while I lived in Oxford (45 minutes a part) and we became friends again, partly out of conveniance (as many friendships start). We both wanted a college friend to hang out with for ballgames and movie nights - and you know what? we quickly hit it off and became great friends.
We had both recently gone through breakups and I think we needed an opposite sex friend for encouragement, support, advice and to stand in as a "date" at certain events like law school prom, ballgames, banquets. We remained close when I moved to Jackson for work.
Chris was a joker, loved to laugh, and always made me laugh. He was the type of person who kept a joke going (but not in a bad "won't let it die" type of way!) We both shared a love for the show "How I met Your mother" (in fact, he named Dave "Ted" since he was an architect) so many of our jokes revolved around that. I love that he enjoyed life so much because it made me enjoy it more too!
Chris was a wealth of sports trivia and a walking SEC encyclopedia. I've spent many days calling and texting him with sports questions. In fact, I think his death will really hit me on days like signing day when I am used to talking with him all day. For a girl, I really like football, but not like Chris did. I also loved Auburn, but not like he did either. Chris loved Auburn. He loved Auburn football, but mainly, he loved Auburn - the school, the traditions, the friendliness, the people. I always thought he would end up there. Chris also was a part time sports writer and hoped to do that full time one day. I loved reading his work. He had a gift. Also, he did such a good job at being unbiased in predictions (he didn't always predict Auburn).
Chris was so giving. He would do anything for you. His parents would do anything for you too. They host huge tailgates....and they don't serve finger foods. You eat steak at their tailgates....or tacos or other good meals! That was their way of hospitality and for someone whose family doesn't go to Auburn games, I always enjoyed being a Rushing on the weekends.
Chris loved children. He adored his friend Robert's little girls, talked about them all the time. He coached little league. In fact I was his date to the banquet where he was honored for his coaching. He was so proud. To him, it was such an accomplishment (and it was!) to know he was making a difference in middle school boys' lives. Coaching was perfect for him - he loved kids, he loved helping, he loved sports! It breaks my heart that Chris will never be a dad because he would have been a good one!!
Chris was the type of friend that wanted the best for you. He was one of the first people I let know I was engaged because he was truly happy that I was happy! In fact, every member of his family plus some of his friends have taken time during their grieving to tell me how happy Chris was for me. Of course, he would be talking about his happiness for me, because he tended to be happy and want the best for all of his friends!
On top of wanting what was best for you, Chris was a good friend. He would be there if you needed. He was loyal. He saw good in people that others didn't see good in. He and my dad became buddies. They liked to call or text and chat about sports. Also, right before Chris died, he had texted many of us personalized Christmas greetings and telling us he hoped to see us soon. I was used to Chris just checking in on me.
Chris loved Jesus. If you read nothing else I wrote about him, please read this. Chris is not in the casket. His body is, but Chris is with his Savior in heaven. Chris always loved the Lord, but his faith had recently grown leaps and bounds. He always wanted to talk about it and he wanted to share it with those who don't know. This provides his friends and family with some comfort - knowing where he is.
Finally, Chris lived his last couple years as if he was ready to go. We should all live this way -- without regrets, sold out for the Lord, loving others well. Chris made peace with people he had conflict with. He had goals he was striving to accomplish, a to do list of things he wanted to do. He grew in his faith. Chris went to Jesus without very much to regret. I am challenged to live my life that way - to make peace where I need to, to love others well, to grow in my faith and to have no regrets.
Two last things. First, it must be said....I am so happy that Chris saw a National Championship before he died. One of the biggest bucket list goals was met! :) Also, one of the happiest things for me is that he met Dave and he told Dave that he had never seen me happier. Chris knew me at my worst, post-engagement. He had seen me heartbroken and he actually had met my ex, so Chris's approval of Dave meant a lot to me.
I will miss Chris, but as wonderful as our friendship was, he has a family that misses him and several guy friends he was friends with since college. Keep them in your prayers. I know as things slow down after the service today, the emptiness of a lost friend, son, brother will hit. He is with Jesus, but sadly many people here have to mourn him. And please, try to live your life the way he has the past few years: FULLY.