This is an article I don’t want to write. Yet, this is an article I am honored to write. I know many of you reading don’t know the man that I will be referencing, but that’s okay; chances are, you know someone like him. If you do, count yourselves among the fortunate, because a person like Nate Adams doesn’t come into everyone’s life. I want to veer from my usual topics and writings to take a moment to introduce you to a real Warrior…one that is fighting his last battle.
I met Nate Adams when I was a student at JSU, back in the early 90’s. Nate was a giant of a man-physically, he was an imposing figure. We became friends almost instantly, which, I’m sure, many others who know Nate would also say. Nate was easy to relate to, funny, and just friendly. But, as I said, he was a giant guy. Solid as a rock, too. I found that out the hard way one day.
We were playing a pickup game of touch football on the coed fields one day, Nate, myself, and several of our friends. I got the football, and managed to avoid being ‘tackled’ all the way to near the goalline. (I was a lot more nimble back then!) All that stood between me and a score was…Nate. That’s when it happened. In a moment of sheer insanity, I decided not to go around Nate. For reasons I’ve never been able to fathom in these 20+ years since, I decided I was going to run through Nate. What happened next? Well, I lowered my head, and plowed into that big guy with everything I had…and the next thing I knew, I was staring up at this mountain of a man, who was looking down at me, bemused. Everything ached. I couldn’t breathe. And Nate hadn’t moved. He looked at me, gave me a soft smile, and said, “Dang, Teal…that was stupid.” I agreed.
I remember another time, deep into the summer at school, and Nate had been in Alaska for several weeks as a summer missionary. I was helping put in a new sidewalk at the BCM, and he came the next day after returning, to help out. He had worked about five minutes in the Alabama heat, and at once he sat down, perspiring like I’d never seen anyone do before. He exhaustedly proclaimed that Alaska didn’t have Alabama’s humidity, and to my memory, that ended Nate’s good hearted attempt at helping us the rest of that day.
I love these two memories, because they are mine. They are personal. They tell a story that perhaps many who have known Nate since wouldn’t know. That means a lot to me now. Why? Because my friend Nate is fighting his last battle with cancer. He was diagnosed late in the game, very late, but he has fought valiantly against an impossible foe. But he hasn’t lost. No sir. It’s not in Nate Adams to lose. Because Nate knows what we who know him know: Nate had won before the battle ever started. Because his General is Christ, and we’ve won. This battle might just go to Death, but only for the briefest of moments. Because, in the twinkling of an eye, that Death will be defeated in Nate, and he will stand tall, whole, and restored…until he kneels at the feet of his Commander and lays his armor down. Then the warm embrace of a Friend, then many more friends, brother, and sisters.
I hate writing this, because I don’t want this. I want Nate to be sitting in a rocking chair at an old age. I want my friend to endure. But he has endured enough already. I weep for his wife, Kim, and their children. Death is not a natural part of life. We know intrinsically that this situation just isn’t right. It is why we mourn our losses, why we fight against this inevitability. And make no mistake: the chances of surviving this life are exactly 0% for everyone, everywhere. Yet we also know that this life isn’t all there is…it’s not even the best there is. Oh no…there is more. Much more. And for that joy set before him, my brother Nate will endure. Has endured.
Nate, brother, I love you. You are the best of us. Always have been. You have been an absolute inspiration to me, my wife, and our family. You are a fighter, a warrior for the King. Soon it will be time to lay that armor down. But the title will always remain. You are a Warrior. And I salute you, brother. Godspeed, and may the peace of God surpass all understanding during these next days. Well done, warrior. Well done.