June 6th 2014 (7) comments so far
This week at Stonebriar, we are grieving the loss of a coworker and a dear friend. Barry Buchanan, our director of information technology, passed away peacefully Wednesday afternoon after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
I can’t say I knew Barry very well, at least not in the sense that most people who work here did. I’ve only been here for about a year and a half, Barry worked here for over ten. Our offices are on opposite sides of the building, and often I would go weeks without seeing him. For the first few months of my time here, our interactions were limited to head nods in the hallway.
I remember getting the news about him last year. It was devastating, information I couldn’t imagine processing. To hear the diagnosis that Barry was given, it would have been perfectly acceptable for a person to curl up into a ball and give up, to live the rest of their life in fear.
But Barry didn’t. Instead, he modeled a faith that could move mountains and displayed a love for others that is truly rare.
In February, I went to the emergency room for kidney stones. It happened to be on Valentine’s Day so I came home from the hospital feeling sorry for myself. When I made it back to work a few days later, someone I didn’t expect to see came in to check on me: Barry.
It turns out that he had dealt with kidney stones before and wanted to know how I was doing. That wasn’t the only time he came in to see me, either. Over the next month or so, I got a few more unexpected visits in my office from him.
He had much more to worry about than a guy he barely knew having a couple of kidney stones, but he didn’t let that stop him from loving others selflessly.
During his ordeal, Barry’s faith in his Lord was apparent. This world is deprived of hope, so much so that perfectly healthy people fear death. It’s the end of our time on earth, and for most that is a bleak specter of finality they live with all their lives. But not Barry.
More than once I heard him say, “I’m either going home, or I’m going home.” It wasn’t a brave face he put on, or what he thought people wanted to hear. Barry literally trusted the Lord with his life, regardless of the outcome. We hear growing up in church that we can live with the hope of being with God when we pass. Barry lived out this promise with a conviction that has impacted not just me, but everyone that came into contact with him. It was one of the most courageous displays of faith that I have had the privilege to witness.
To the Buchanan family, I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a spouse, a parent, or a child, and I am truly heartbroken that you have to experience this. We are all mourning that our friend Barry will no longer be around to make us laugh or throw a “lookin’ good!” at you when he catches you fixing your hair in a mirror.
My hope is that you will be comforted by the way Barry has left his mark on all of us. I only knew Barry for a short time, but if his faith and strength left this much of an impact on me, I can only imagine how he touched the rest of the staff here.
The final months of Barry’s life were not lived like it was the end. They were lived with the hope and peace that only those who know the Lord intimately are capable of, and it was evident to everyone around him. While we mourn the end of his time with us, we can rest in the fact that he is with his heavenly Father…and probably already making Him laugh with a web comic.
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