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Just over a year ago, our friend Bob Pino flew further up and beyond than cancer could follow, and, in so doing, he broke the chain of hands. We celebrated for him but wavered, just a little, in our flight; so many of us had counted on Bob to listen, pray, and advise. Connected as I am to Rachel, I felt as though I were grieving two loved ones: one for her, and one for me.
I couldn't have guessed, a year ago, how often I'd think of Bob, today. I've many reasons to miss him, but I miss him most of all because, to me, he represented redemption, also (and I wish I had the perfect word for this) how a person can experience victory not only over his or her history, but also through his or her history. I'm trying to say: Bob demonstrated how Jesus can take a big hot, hoopty mess and turn it into unadulterated awesomesauce.
After the rest of the world had done packed up and gone home, Bob could shine Jesus light into broken-up lives: not in a "I hope my batteries hold out!" kind of way, but in a "You really should've sprung for Transitions Lenses!" kind of way.
Oh, he gave me so much hope. Because I don't know about you, but the enemy likes to taunt me with: "Your history will define your future!"
On a good day, I stare that enemy down like it's the wild, wild west. I point my finger gun at him and pull the trigger, saying: "I sure do hope so."
I consider: no one can quite fill Bob's shoes because he wore them around the block so many times. I remember my appreciation for his knowing just what the hound dog he was talking about.
Bob's in heaven, now, but I'm still flying. I've got an empty hand, so I reach back and grab hold of an almost eighteen-year-old girl behind me. My hand trembles a little, and I'm scared I'll let her down, but I look over my shoulder and say: "Come with me to Five Guys. I feel like I'm supposed to tell you my story."