I just found out that my friend Bob died.  I’m a bit surprised at how deeply his death is affecting me considering I don’t even know Bob’s last name.

At age 59 Bob was driving home from his aunt’s funeral.  A car pulled out in front of him, Bob swerved and a semi-truck killed him.  I suppose the details are somewhat irrelevant.  In the end, the driver who caused the accident never stopped . . . Bob’s life did.

I knew Bob from our local Giant Eagle grocery store.  Bob did a lot of things but most of the time Bob was a bagger.  Bob was one of the reasons I’ve continued to shop at Giant Eagle over the years.

I don’t know Bob’s last name but there is a lot I do know about Bob.

Bob loved his family.  I feel like I know them.  He loved his wife and kids and grandchildren.  Always a story.

Bob loved to garden.  I knew when he planted, when he fertilized, when he weeded.  And I knew when Bob harvested.  Bob gave me gifts of his produce.

Bob loved Cleveland sports teams.  All Cleveland teams but especially the Indians.  Like any good Cleveland fans we would commiserate but always we would be hopeful.

Most importantly, Bob loved God.  And God loves Bob.  I knew when a “faith” conversation was coming.  Bob would call out to me, “Hey! You’re  a preacher . . .”

And so my friend, Bob, I’ll miss most of your jokes and all of our talks, your crooked smile and stubbly chin.  But I know this is not farewell, it is simply till then.  I look forward to seeing you when we both stand side by side with our good friend Jesus. Jesus, who as you once told me, does not answer to the last name H. Christ.

Sometimes, first names are enough.