Thursday, August 14, 2008

In Memory of Jonathan Berry

Each life that touches our for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

A friend reminded me today of another friend who disappeared about three years ago and is presumed dead. And so I've been thinking all day about Jonathan Berry and the short, sweet friendship we shared. I've been thinking about how he impacted my life and how grateful I am to my God for Christ-like friends.

When I first met Jon, I was struck by his big ears, ruddy complexion, and contagiously exuberant smile. He invited us to sit with him at lunch. He was a sincere and amusing conversationalist. He said he was going to play Frisbee and invited Jennie and I to come. Is it any wonder that I knew from that moment that we would be friends? He was leaving on a mission at the end of our first college semester and so if we were going to get to know each other, it was going to have to be fast.

Jennie, Jon, Jason, and I played card games together almost every night. Jon was the life of the party. He was hillarious to watch when we played spaz and was always good-natured and energetic.

Jon played the cello and was in my music history class with me. Most mornings we would walk to class together and he would tell me about the graduate level class he was taking in modern music. He was very intelligent and enthusiastic about learning. We studied for our music history tests together and he always had a thorough and thought-provoking grasp of the material.

Jon suffered from depression and there were times when I could tell he needed someone to listen and uplift him. When given the opportunity, I always listened but I never knew what to say. Sometimes we would just pray together. Most of the time, though, he tried to keep it to himself. He thought that his depression was a burden he should carry alone.

Jon was a crazy dancer. We went to Homecoming together and he was not afraid to move! He wasn't really very graceful but his joy in movement was obvious.

When I knew him, Jon lived life to its fullest. He always wanted to extract every last ounce of experience from every occasion. He wanted to learn as much as he could. He wanted to laugh as much as he could. He wanted to move as much as he could.

When he came home early from his mission, though, he was very changed. He had lost faith in the Savior during the trials of life. But it was only the Savior that had power to heal him!

It is still the Savior who has the power to heal him. It is the Savior that will cause him to rise again. It is the Savior who can judge with perfect mercy his actions and will, in the end, be able to embrace him and comfort him in the way we never could. God is so wise and kind! I am grateful for his plan, which is a plan of happiness for all his children. He has provided a way for everyone to find peace and eternal joy, no matter what struggles they may face in this life.

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