My daughter, Carrie, called me the other day in tears. We had lost a mutual friend. Ray Gann.
I met Ray years ago in church and I grew to love the man. You could easily sum up Ray in two words....Faithful Friend. For he was always faithful. You could count on him to be there when you needed him to be. And.....he was a friend in the truest sense. One who was always friendly and would accept you just the way you were.
Through her tears, Carrie told me how much she loved him. How he would go out of his way to stop and say Hi to her. How he always seemed to be genuinely interested in what she was doing . Ray was also one of the main people involved in building Carrie's house.
I used to refer to him as good ole Ray Gann and that was shortened along the way to ole Ray Gann for some reason. It was not that he was old...he wasn't, it was just short for good ole.
Now to many Ray was a saint. But I am sure that was not always the case. Like all of us, he stumbled and fell a time or two. But....he knew something that others have discovered. And that something is grace. He learned that there was a God who accepted him the way that he was , not for what he felt he should be and that freed Ray.
For the love that he learned from God was the love that he gave to all around him. Unconditional acceptance. He learned the simplicity of accepting that love thus freeing his soul.
In the last few years, I have not seen Ray as much as I did before, but each time I did, he was the same smiling man. And knowing how much he did for Carrie warms my heart and yet hurts it at the same time, knowing how much she will miss him.
Ray's service will be held Saturday at First Baptist Church. Carrie is cutting her vacation short just to make it back in time so that she can say goodbye to our friend.