Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I can see the empty space in the parking lot from my desk.  Normally there would be an obnoxiously large black Ford truck barely crammed into the spot.  Normally there would be a child's car seat visible through the windshield.  Normally a gigantic man with a granite chin, impossibly broad shoulders and a huge barrel chest would sit in an office not two hundred feet from where I sit now.  His hands, those comically over-sized paws, gnarled from years of swinging a hammer as a general contractor, would click away at the comparatively minuscule keyboard as he worked tirelessly to prepare a quote for a customer or follow up with a sales lead.  Normally he would greet me with a wide grin and a booming hello in his huge baritone voice.  At the end of the day he would stand, stretch, sigh, smile, and plod off to that metal monstrosity in the parking lot.  He'd hop in, crank up whatever song was playing on the local Contemporary Christian radio station, and drive home to see his wife, children, and grandchildren.  Normally his two-year-old grandson Nathan would fly into his arms and squeeze him with every ounce of his toddler strength.

None of those things will happen today.

Late this morning, Ken Smith died in a hospital in Bloomington, Illinois.  He was fifty-five years old.

Thank you all for your prayers these last few days, and please continue to pray for Ken's family.  His wife Linda and daughters Rachel and Talea need those prayers now more than ever.

Normally, if I were having a particularly bad day, I would go talk to Ken and he would inevitably recall a passage from the Bible that had encouraged him recently. We'd chat for a few minutes and I would leave feeling optimistic.

I guess that won't happen today either.


  1. I didn't know him, but felt a bit of familiarity because of all the times you spoke of him. I know he will be terribly missed, and we will continue to pray for his family, and for you, too. Love you!