Eulogy given by Keith McCallum
“Oh my Ugly Buckling!”. This is how I used to greet him, after not seeing him for a long, long time. “Foooolish Hunky”, he would answer back.
There was a lot of warmth there, in a strange sort of way, I suppose. It was a competitive greeting. I always felt like I lost the competition with “my Ugly Buckling”, even though the kids would always laugh at mine, but not at his. Yet, his “Foolish Hunky”, I think, always reminded me who the real leader in our relationship was: not me, even though I was older. Yet, he was the leader.
That was OK with me: He was great to follow – and fun, too.
When I heard he was critically injured, I never thought for one minute that he would die. What a rude shock to discover otherwise.
Buck would have greatly enjoyed – even instigated – a controversial debate about why this happened. Why? Why? Why?
Was it the hand of God that struck him down? Perhaps God could accomplish an even greater work through Buck’s death than through his life? Buck would shake his head sadly at this absurd notion: “What, God is so limited, He requires Buck’s death to accomplish this ‘greater cause’” ?
Or perhaps it was Satan? Buck would point out the absurdity that either God or Satan guided the sled into that wall, or delayed his arrival at the hospital, so that the bled to death.
Buck would have seen it right away. He was a clear & practical thinker. He would have said, “Foolish Hunky…I died because my body hit a brick wall. The wall was covered with snow. Nobody saw it. It was an accident.”
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Accidents happen. How many times did Buck teach, “You could easily step outside and die tonight.”
The McCallums & the Schmidt’s are not immune from the tragedy and horror of this fallen world. Not even Buck.
There is no room for bitterness against God here. God answered 10,000 prayers in Buck’s life – and yet, He didn’t answer prayer request #10,001 !! Buck would point out, quite simply, “Fooolish Hunky: YOU need to go read the Bible. YOU’RE ungrateful.” He could be terse.
He gave Buck so much: awesome gifting, so much fruit, so many answered prayers, such a beautiful wife & beautiful girls & such a happy life. He lived 5 lives.
Oh, and he was happy. He died having fun. I can’t wait to hear his account of events.
For those who find fault for Buck’s risk-taking (and we’ve all done that, haven’t we?), I have only this to say: we deprive ourselves of his Greatness. We miss the point. It was his COURAGE that enabled him to drive forward, always forward, leading the rest of us. His risk-taking resulted in so many salvations. Others are so risk-aversive, they never witness.
Buck will always have his critics. And that’s too bad, because in doing so, they miss his greatness. He left behind a legacy for his family that few men ever could provide. His wife & Kelly & Kate are deprived of his presence, yes, that’s bad. But he left them with riches beyond measure, which no eulogy could possibly capture.
We’ve enjoyed the privilege of knowing one of God’s Truly Great Ones. Perhaps his loss is so profound because he provided us with too much, and the abundance is gone now. Yet, I’m thankful, because he left behind what Paul calls, “the fruit that remains.”
Thank-you, Buck. Even more, thank-you Lord for loaning him to us for a little while. He was not mine. He was yours.