It’s ironic that on this day of celebrating the resurrection of the greatest human being whoever lived, I’m also mourning the death of someone that impacted me early on in this journey. On Good Friday, Mark Pace, a man in his 40’s with a very smart and supportive wife, Andrea, and a teenaged son named Brock from Hungtington Beach, CA finally went home to be with the Lord. He was diagnosed with GBM (Stage 4 Brain Cancer) about 6 years ago and more than beat the odds of most patients with GBM. He actually had a successful surgery recently where he had a regrowth removed (the biggest reason why Brain Cancer is so deadly is because of how highly common recurrence is). It was in the middle of rehab from that surgery where he actually had a pulmonary embolism and was in a coma for a couple weeks and eventually passed away. Mark was a friend of our pastor Greg and his wife Kay. When I was first diagnosed, Greg got us in touch with each other. At the time, I had also just learned that I would need a second surgery and was feeling a lot of anxiety. When Mark answered the phone, the tone in his voice immediately made the anxiousness go away. In my head I was thinking, “Here was a guy with a far worst diagnosis than me and now it was several years later and he has the most calming presence.”. It spoke volumes to me (and still does). Mark took the time to ask some questions and tell us a bit of his story (Andrea also called and talked to Amy at one point) and by the end of the conversation I felt like a new person. Mark’s faith changed me. I could see that he was living his life with the Resurrection in his heart. He was actually living the Resurrection, this idea that I understood both intellectually and emotionally, but was not letting dictate the way I lived my life in the way that it should. Mark lived with total peace and abandon (that’s not saying that he never got scared or worried, but I could just feel that the Resurrection dominated who he was) and that has been biggest thing I’ve gained for myself this year. If I could give any advice from what I learned from Mark in my brief encounter with him, it would be that Easter doesn’t just celebrate what Christ did for you but it also celebrates what Christ is doing in you, day in and day out. In fact, this week I got to play a role in helping a man get the emergency surgery he needs to not only keep him from going blind but also save his life (as they discovered that the tumor was far bigger than they thought). The reward from that alone was life giving to me. Christ is doing “life giving” things through you every day, it may not be obvious, but I can assure that it’s there, just look for it and be grateful, that’s all you gotta do. The rewards are worth it (and not to mention, you get eternal life). Thank you Mark for teaching me that important lesson and I know that you’re resting in eternal peace.
Many blessings of comfort, joy, and peace to Andrea, Brock, and the rest of the Pace family.