There’s a voice message that I can’t erase off of my cellphone. It’s about 3 years old, from my friend Don out in Washington.
Don had been a hard-driving businessman in his younger years. He spent the later years of his life doing good works around the globe: reconciliation meetings in the post-war Balkans, relief work in North Korea and in China, and closer to home, supporting a prison ministry near his hometown of Seattle.
We’d met at a church breakfast, where he was the speaker, and I later spent a few days with him and his wife for a magazine profile.
In the years since, we’d kept in touch – sometimes to talk about a new project or something in the news that bugged him.
The last call came on Aug. 11, 2016, and went to voicemail. “Thinking about you,” he said. “No agenda. Just wanted to call in to check in on a friend.”
I called back. He didn’t pick up. We never did connect. A few months later, I got the news that cancer had taken his life.
I hold on to that voicemail, hoping someday I’ll get that callback.
Don’s call came back to mind this week when I heard that Rob Moll had died.
Rob, 41, an editor and writer, had been hiking Mount Rainer, his favorite place in the world, when he died in an accident. He leaves behind his wife and four children.
I don’t have voicemails from Rob. But I have emails and Facebook messages and many fond memories.
Rob edited some of my stories for Christianity Today, where he worked for years as an editor and writer. Later, I worked on a project for him after he left CT — a project we discussed for a few hours over beers at a professional conference, a memory I cherish.
Last time we spoke, I’d asked him to write a piece about how clergy can talk to their people about their own mortality. He said he’d love to, but said, “I need a little time.”
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Source: Religion News Service