07 July 2008

Tragic news

Those who know me know I'm very cynical when it comes to the praise heaped on those who die... especially those who die young.

But in the case of Craig Decker, feared drowned in Utah Lake Saturday, I'd say the good words spoken about him are entirely warranted.

Craig was a BYU student and fellow graduate of West Jordan High School. Though he was one class behind me, I knew him through my sister and some other friends. Always an excellent young man, Craig showed his character especially after losing his right hand in a Mexican firework accident last New Year's Eve.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Craig designed his own prosthetic limb and created instructional videos on how others with the same disability can lead normal lives.

On his Youtube profile page (his screenname is Captain Danger), he listed things he had learned from the experience of losing a hand. One of his points:

There are some things in life that we simply cannot control. (If I hadn't blown off my hand, some other poor sap would have!) It's okay. As we let go of those things quickly and completely, we become free.

A very mature perspective. Here's a video where he discusses typing options for those with one hand:

The attitude of "the world cannot always adapt to me, so I choose to adapt the world when possible" is highly, highly impressive.

Which makes the tragedy that Craig is missing and presumed dead after an incident at Utah Lake on Saturday all the more impactful. According to his family, Craig dove into the lake to retrieve an oar that fell off their boat and he never resurfaced.

Searchers retrieved the oar and Craig's shoes, but there has been no other sign of him. Here is a link to a video report of the story at ksl.com.

I can hardly believe that this has happened. Some have expressed how unfair it is that his family has had to suffer so much recently. I struggle to understand the unfairness myself.

By all accounts, Craig lived to uplift and encourage others. For someone like this to die so young is truly tragic. Some faculty at West Jordan High are trying to establish a Craig Decker Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor him. I can't agree with the sentiment more.

For example, his Youtube avatar is Mega Man, a video game hero with one normal hand and a laser gun at the end of his other arm. That shows a good sense of humor and class in the face of extreme hardship.

One thing Craig made clear on his Youtube profile is his reliance and love for Jesus Christ and his relationship with God. I firmly believe that Craig is in a good place, free from his handicap and enjoying the rewards of a life well-lived.

I pray for the Decker family during this trying time, and hope that they can find comfort and understanding through God's spirit.

This was an individual who comes as close to sainthood as any 25-year old I've ever known.

The world has lost one of its great individuals, but maybe if we can learn from Craig's example his death won't be in vain.

Here is a Facebook group that tracks the latest news on the search for Craig; it was created by a good friend of his.


Filbert Karo said...

Oooooh that kind of stuff sucks...especially for the family.

Jessie said...

I find myself thinking more and more that Craig went through his initial tragedy (his hand) maybe to prepare his family for this--I know he wouldn't want us mourning and moping about, because that just isn't in his nature. He'd rather we remember the good times, accept what has happened, and move on with our lives, accepting that nothing could be done. And not just move on, but enjoy life, and live it to the fullest. He set the example for us.

Josh said...

That is sick. And cool

Kevin said...

Brandon, I'd love to copy your blogs about Craig and put it on his site, let me know if that's ok.

Kevin Decker

Brooke said...

Thanks for sharing such intimate thoughts with us Brandon. I as well was thinking many of the same things as I learned of this tragedy. I remember also reading about him in the paper last year, and how soon after he lost his hand he threw a pirate party, so he could wear a hook on his arm. Who else would do that? Truly Craig was such a great inspiration to us all, and that will be his legacy.