In Loving Memory
Skylar Patrick Blackwell
May 22nd 1994 - June 15th 2017
Skylar Patrick Blackwell
Some might think it would be a cruel understatement to say that Skylar Patrick Blackwell died to soon – too early – with the best part of life still to come. In some ways we would be justified in thinking this way, but humans do not see as God sees, nor can we see beyond the veil of the created order. As Jerry just sang, “I am a flower quickly fading, a wave tossed on the ocean, a vapor in the wind.” In the enormity of time and space, we are less than a breath, a whisper of God’s thoughts becoming flesh and blood for only a flash of time. Like the psalmist, we can sit out under the huge canopy of stars on a cloudless night, and wonder, asking God, “What is man, that you are mindful of him? Or human beings, that you care for them?”
Because we do have these thoughts – all of us – we have a sense deep in our souls that we must belong to something, someone greater than ourselves. We are mystified, at these ideas, but at the same time, we are so hungry for answers, to make a connection with the God that we believe is there – just beyond the reach of our senses.
And so, while we may immediately have sorrow and grief at an earthly life cut short, we also feast on the word of God, that there IS a greater life that this one, that this life is not the end, that Jesus understood these things and meant what he said when he offered this promise to his Disciples: “I am going to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be also.” And, “if this was not true, would I have told you so?”
The question then, is, do we really belong to this God? How do we know for sure that we are the recipients of a promised life with Christ after our days on earth are over? If we could know that for sure, it would not end the grief we feel in the loss of loved one, but it would help us to realize that the grief is temporary – a storm that will pass, leaving a freshness and beauty behind – a hope for days to come.
I know without ever having met Skylar, that he is certainly the recipient of the promise of eternal life in Christ. I know this without knowing whether or not he was baptized, whether or not he attended church regularly, and whether or not lived as a model or less than model citizen. I know this because of the stories his sisters shared with me.
“Skylar loved to read the Bible,” they said. “He knew more about the Bible than most people we know,” they said. Maybe I was supposed to be impressed.. but I wasn’t, because Scripture says that even the Devil knows the Bible. No, it was something else they said that impressed me. They said, “Skylar was always asking questions about the Bible and looking for answers. We remember one time him asking a question about the Ten Commandments, and that ending up in a 3 or 4 hour family discussion. Skylar was always searching, always trying to figure it out, always asking questions.” (Just like Jesus when he was 12 years old, I thought…) My heart jumped in my chest when they told me this, because one of my favorite passages of Scripture reads like this: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God working IN YOU both to WILL and to DO.” In other words, when a heart is hungry to understand, to put the pieces together, to know God, -- AND that person goes about SEEKING those answers, then that is a sure and certain sign that the Spirit of God is already working in the person to draw the person close. God already knows Skylar by heart, and was calling him by name.. that is, by his ‘nature,’ by his character. God knew that Skylar wanted to know God, and God was opening the path to make that possible. He was looking forward to coming to St. Paul – and had said so – just before he died.
We all make mistakes. We all look at trouble and say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Skylar was driving too fast. God didn’t push the accelerator, and God didn’t “call Skylar home,” or “pick another flower for his garden.” God weeps just as we weep for the loss of Skylar Blackwell. But what God DOES do is REDEEM us from our sins. God is in the business of bringing good out of bad for those who love him. And Skylar was hungry to know God.
In theology we have something that is called “concurrence.” It means that God, knowing all things – having foreknowledge of all things, works things together for good for those who love him. If Skylar ever doubted that God know his name, and that God loved him and cared for him, he lost those doubts on the day of that tragic accident. For as he was lying mangled on the side of the road, a person stopped, and intentionally walked over and knelt and prayed with Skylar… out of the blue, uncalled, unasked. I am telling you will full conviction that that person was called by God to comfort and care for his child Skylar.
And all those questions Skylar had? How did God write the ten commandments on stone with his finger? How did Jesus walk on the water? How did he feed 5,000 people with a few fish? All those questions are now being answered. You see, God has people all over this earth whose hearts and minds are opened and who can teach the scriptures in a way that people understand. This was the original meaning of “speaking in tongues” – sharing the Gospel in a way that people can understand. But Skylar’s path didn’t cross the path of those folks. In a way, he didn’t have the same chances that some others have – to go to church every Sunday, and to be baptized with family all around, and to live his life surrounded by a faithful congregation sharing his burdens and lifting his spirits. Again, we might be inclined to say Skylar died too soon, or didn’t have the same advantages as other folks. But you know what? I’ve seen plenty – PLENTY of people who have lived their whole lives in the church and who, instead of being hungry for more understanding, like Skylar was, they think they know it all. One thing is for sure, when we think we know it all, there’s no more room for God to work in our hearts. God’s ways are not our ways, and God sees differently that we do. In God’s sight, Skylar was surely a child of God – and when that child’s life came to an end, God has someone right there with him, praying, bringing comfort and assurance that Skylar wasn’t just dying an earthly death, Skylar was COMING HOME.
Likewise, I was not surprised when LaKeisha and Trisheena told me that Skylar had the biggest smiles and the warmest hugs of anyone they’d ever known. Even though he carried many burdens in his short life, in every picture he always had the biggest smile on his face. In their own words, “Skylar could brighten anyone’s day.” He didn’t have to have a lot of belongings, he took joy in the simple things.” “He was like a magnet,” LaKeisha says… people were drawn to him. He only had 67 cents to his name when he died, but look even now how he has drawn us together.”
Growing up, Skylar was very close to his sisters and loved to spend time with them. “He was like my puppy,” said LaKeisha… loved and cared for. They bought him school clothes, and supplies, and whatever else they could. And Skylar loved to come and stay with them.
He loved to fish, and work with his hands – and Jayden now has his toolbox… all organized. In few weeks there will be a new tree, maybe a live oak, planted out along Lake Conroe at the park, planted in Skylar’s name.. Out there in the out of doors, just like Skylar loved. Near the water and the fishing, just like Skylar loved.
No, on this day, I don’t think we need to feel sorry for Skylar. Yes, we will miss him in the flesh, but he is in a place with at least one person who, deep down, was a lot like Skylar. Someone who loved the simple things. Someone who brightened up the room wherever he went. Someone who after he left his parents, never really had a permanent home of his own. Someone who had the biggest smiles and warmest hugs. Someone who died with even less than 67 cents in his pocket. Someone who also knew pain and rejection, and who died mangled – but comforted by prayer.
Someone who had many questions as a child – questions that not even his parents could answer, but who now sits on the right hand of God. Skylar’s sins are forgiven; Skylar’s life in eternal, and he is not “gone,” he has simply found the home he was looking for, in the arms of Jesus. Skyar is home. Thanks be to God. Amen.
I would like to say a few words about Skylar.
He was my Friend first and Foremost. I loved him and treated him like a Son. When I met Skylar he came to me needing a job not knowing the shop he currently worked for was the shop I had started back in 2000. But I immediately knew he had potential. I could tell he was starving to learn CNC machining and had never been given the right training. So, I took a chance on him and let's just say, it didn't start out going that easy. He made a lot of mistakes and I was hard on him. I don't know if he was prepared for the training and discipline I was about to give him. He had told me he never really had a steady serious father figure in his life. And not that I was trying to be one, I was his employer but I took to him and I really liked him a lot. I know younger people these days don't understand that. But, you can be stern and disciplined with someone and still really like them. And I think as time went on he valued that because he never had any discipline. As he got better at machining I started to notice that information I fed him, he could retain. A key factor in my book for someone to become a really good machinist. And he had it. So we went through some good times and went through some hard times, but, he figured it out. He worked when I needed him to and he had a desire to please and make sure I and the others in the shop were happy. A great quality about Skylar was he was easy to get along with and he was willing to give you the shirt off his back and be there if you needed him.
Skylar was very smart and had a high IQ. Capable of much more than what he knew and I really wanted to show him that. I wanted so much more for him and I knew he was capable of being super successful. He full capabilities of some day running my shop. I had huge aspiration and high hopes for him.
We did not get to enjoy as much personal time. Most of the time we spent together was at my shop. We went to my Deer lease and went fishing. The salt water fishing was really the first time he had caught fish and I knew he really enjoyed it.
I really hoped to have spent more time with him outside of the shop. we shared common interest and we liked many of the same things. Even if I was much older than him. And while he was not working at my shop at the time I really visions of him coming back eventually. I hoped for it.
Out of all the people I have ever trained and worked with he had the most potential for being one of the best machinist I had ever trained. He would eventually become the full package as far as a machinist goes. I really wanted that for him.
When I heard about what happened to him I was really feeling bad about it. Our relationship was rocky at best and he stopped by the shop a couple of days before to ask me to help him out in his new job. But, at the time, I was mad at him for quitting and I was not kind to him. It was the last time I ever saw him and that is not the way I would have liked things to end.
You never know when someone is going to leave your life. When someone will exit and you will never see them again. It's never easy to lose someone like that. but God needed him more than we did. God had a job he needed machined and God is the greatest Machinist of all. He will be missed but he will be doing what he loved to do and will learn more than I could imagine.
I want to say my condolences to the Family and I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed being around him and I will never forget him
Ok just a quick Blog while setting up this Memorial Site for all of us to enjoy and keep Skylar's memory alive. I would love to hear the memories you shared with my brother along with seeing any pictures you may have including him. My heart is hurting now but hopefully through this page I will find peace knowing he had a huge group of supporters in life and after his life ended here on earth. I will miss him everyday but will remember the good times and find comfort in knowing he is no longer struggling with Life.