Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Matthew 4:19, NKJV)
(Matthew 4:19, NKJV)
In loving memory of Shane Beal
February 26, 1999 - May 23, 2019
Written by Aloysius Wong on Christmas Eve, 2019
Greetings and welcome!
My name is Aloysius Wong, and I am here to introduce this site. I wished to help create this as a space for those of us still here to remember Shane, no matter how much or little we knew him. I hope it can become a space where we can share and speak of Shane and all the life, light and love he gave to us and the world around him.
I met Shane in the autumn of 2017 as we began our journey at the University of Toronto (UofT) with the Gilson Seminar in Faith and Ideas. Before we even had our first class together, our cohort had the opportunity to meet each other at a welcome dinner, during which we each received a beret to mark the beginning of our journey.
I knew Shane only for about a year and a half, but in that time I very quickly called him my friend. It didn't take much longer before I would have called him my brother: brother in our shared vocations, our dreams, and our longing for and belonging in Christ. In that time, we studied, discussed, debated and walked together.
When I learned that Shane's heart stopped on May 23rd this year, the space that Shane had in my heart hurt, as though it longed to speak and be with that young man I called my friend. As St. Augustine writes in Book IV of The Confessions, "It was well said that a friend is half one's own soul." Despite how many other friends remained, my soul longed to be with him, but he was no longer in this world: God had taken him back into His kingdom.
As time passed, the pain of loss and grief would come and go. Sometimes the sorrow seemed unbearable; at other times, friends and family shared and lightened the load. Life doesn't end after one of our brothers and sisters passes on: it continues to grow and decay, full of beauty and meaning. And as this life continues, the hollows in our hearts left Shane's absence won't feel as empty. Our tears will dry. Our pain will subside. Our sorrow will be comforted.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelations 21:4, KJV)
Shane used to say, "It all gets easier when you remember that God wins in the end."
So, eventually, when the loss and grief is not so immediate and intense, we will be left with only one thing. We will be left with the one thing that Shane and all those who have gone before us have given us. We will be left with the one thing that no one and nothing can take away; the one thing that neither space nor time can dull or erase.
We will be left with Love.
Thank you for visiting, and may God bless you all.