Some of you may know Matt Miller. He was known to a lot of those who were a part of Trinity UMC and the UA Wesley Foundation in Tuscaloosa. He was in seminary in Memphis and already was pastoring a church in Millport, AL. He unexpectedly passed away Saturday in a duck hunting accident. His visitation is tonight and the funeral will be held tomorrow. This is for Matt.
1. I consider myself more of an acquaintance of Matt's than a friend. I was no longer in school when he came to Tuscaloosa. I had actually just started leading worship at Trinity Methodist. I got to hear him preach a few times and was enthralled. I really enjoyed listening to Alan Head preach then hear Matt preach the same thing, but in a different way or a different message that he got from the same scripture. I never really got to know him as a friend though. That, I regret.
2. Matt grossed me out. It's kinda funny. Whenever we did communion at Trinity, Matt would take the bread, hold it while talking, and "played" with the bread. He would talk with the bread like it was an extension of his hands. It was like someone putting their hands all in your food before giving it to you to eat. I couldn't help but think, "Gross! And now I'm going to consume that as Jesus' body!" Needless to say, I committed to myself that it was clean because it was for God's purpose.
3. There was a time that I really disliked Matt. I know...."how on earth could you dislike him?!" Well, I think I did because I disliked myself and what I was dealing with. Daniel blogged about me and Matt was trying to help by posting some advice. I got upset at him and Daniel. It took me a long time to get over that.
4. I found to like Matt. While I was working at Children's hospital, I worked with many kids with cystic fibrosis. Charlie was a special one. He was hilarious - He would try things you asked, but was very pessimistic because he seemed to believe that he would wind up getting hurt. He was always very witty and had great comebacks and excuses for everything. Well, he began to get very sick and went to the ICU. I spent those days with him and his family. I said goodbye to him even though I really wanted him to come off the vent and be normal Charlie again. Some therapists and I went to his visitation in Millport. Lo and behold, Matt was there. He also knew Charlie. He was there as a friend and pastor to the family and all those who loved Charlie. I really appreciated that and got to talk with him about Charlie. Matt was a good guy after all.
5. Despite the fact of not really knowing Matt the way others got to, I am still very saddened by his passing. It is a very tragic and horrible way to die. I know that he is in a wonderful place now and not suffering, but it is still hard to understand when someone is taken away from you. He affected so many people in Tuscaloosa, Camp Sumatanga, and Millport. (I'm sure even more than just those places.) I know that all of them are hurt by what has happened. What I feel is so horrible is that we didn't get to say goodbye to him like I was able to with Charlie.
Goodbye, Matt Miller. May you be able to further the Kingdom of God in your new home. Thank you for your service here on earth.