When this picture was taken, no one knew it would be used for his funeral. That’s the thing about life, you never know when it will end. Jarrad Blade is his name, however he had quite a few nicknames — J, Blade, Black, Bad Ass Blade and more (add missing ones in the comments). He was and is a legend. The legacy he left is profound.
After we got the news, his home was flooded with friends and family. We had to park down the street and walk to his house because so many people visited. People stood outside to make space for others inside. More than 500 people filled the church for this 31 year old’s funeral service. People stood along the wall, because all of the seats were taken – even the extra folding chairs that were brought in. Jarrad touched so many people. This became apparent even before the funeral.
During funeral preparations, I was fortunate to be one of the few at the table. It was amazing to hear calls come in and news updates about people and companies calling to contribute and share condolences. Family and friends were on top of taking care of things as well – and they still are. People came out of the woodworks to lend support. Twas so refreshing to see.
YOU & YOURS
The reason the church was filled; the reason the neighborhood swarmed with people is because Jarrad was about you and yours – not me and mine. As a selfless individual, Jarrad was not concerned about making life the best for himself. He wanted to make sure you were happy. Jarrad was interested in having the best day ever and making sure you were at the center of it. As a quarterback, you don’t look good if you don’t make the team look good. As a legendary Lakeside High School quarterback, he definitely understood that.
I have always liked blacklights. The way they illuminate the whites and fluorescent colors on surfaces always intrigued me. I knew that one of Jarrad’s nicknames was Black. But when I thought of it, in regards to his personality it didn’t quite fit. Light made more sense to me – hence his new nickname “Blacklight.” Jarrad was bright. Not like a light, but like a blacklight. You see, blacklights don’t emit much light at all. However, they bring out the light in everything around them. That was Jarrad all day. He was interested in making others shine. It wouldn’t surprise me if he found you in a dark place and showed you the light that you didn’t know you possessed.
Jarrad was a busy man. He wasn’t unnecessarily busy though. He was always doing something with someone for good reason. Time and time again I heard someone share that they were just with him doing this or just about to do that. Jarrad had things lined up on purpose. He was not the type to be idle. If someone needed help, he was there.
Along the same lines, Jarrad reminds me of Nehemiah. My daughter, Eden, was reading about him one day and I overheard it. Jarrad came immediately to mind. You see, Nehemiah saw a problem and prayed for help. But he did not leave it there. He became the answer to his prayer. Jarrad wasn’t the type to leave things undone, if he had the ability to fix them. He would make it happen. He was one of the few laborers mentioned in Matthew 9:37.
The most significant relationship Jarrad had was with his big sister Crystal. Though only a few years older, you would have thought they were twins. They were always together. They started Blade Academy together. They lived together. They smiled together. Oh that smile. Jarrad’s smile was Jarrad. You would not see one without the other. If you saw Jarrad you definitely saw his smile. The same is true with Crystal – no smile, no Crystal. These twins would light up any room. Thinking of their smiles, I bet you are smiling right now.
As hilarious and playful as Jarrad was, he would be serious in this moment to tell you to seize the day by making someone’s day. Help continue the work he started by supporting his scholarship fund.