I went for a cross-bike ride Saturday just to get some miles in and relieve some stress. It was a long week. For this ride there was no intended route. The only intent was to get out and move a little. I rode some rail-trail, explored a industrial park, then single track and then some roads. It was a cold morning, but really nice to get out, not be on an agenda or time table. The sun came out and warmed things up nicely.
It was a good day to clear my mind. Little did I know (I would learn a few hours later) that our church Pastor, Robert had died the night before of a massive heart attack. We were all shocked and saddened by the news. He was a good guy, great for our church and loved and supported our kids dearly. Marissa had a great bond with him and is very sad about the news. All he ever wanted to do was help people, that was his church mission and he made it his life to do so.
He was a part-time Pastor for us, but worked more than any full-time one I've ever known. A great communicator. A great organizer. A great thinker and educator. Former typesetter in the printing trade, we had that in common too. He gave Patti and I lots of support through some challenges we had faced inside and outside of church. Just a good, regular, down-to-earth guy. At times I feel alone and sad, other times plenty happy and proud to have been able to serve the last five years with him at our church.
A good soul on earth has been lost, and what upsets me most is that his work here wasn't done. How are we supposed to pick up all those pieces? I guess it's our job to carry on for him, its what He would want us to do.
He always enjoyed my stories about cycling. He would tell me about his vacations with Mary and how they biked together places. He was one of the first people I e-mailed to tell him about my 24-Hour Challenge results. He supported my Miles for Smiles ministry this last summer by dusting off his steel-framed steed and riding 204 miles in 10 weeks, raising hundreds of dollars for the cause. I think mostly, he did that to show his support for me - he didn't have to take the time to do that, but he did. And he did things like this tirelessly for plenty of others. I will never forget him for that.
Pastor Robert Eckert. Another soul for me to bring along with me on my rides.