I feel that I need to apologize for writing so much and it may be inappropriate as a condolence, but there is no way that I can adequately convey what I would like to express in just a few lines.
I can only present the perspective of an outsider, as I have not had the honor of meeting Brandon. I hold the greatest respect for the men and women in the military and law enforcement. If not for the dedication and courage of these brave souls, we wouldn't be able to retain the standards, lifestyles and freedoms that we all cherish, yet I think that we tend to take for granted.
I only recently became aware of Brandon through a news program. The program left me with many questions and I felt drawn to learn more about Brandon's character and what it is about him that has seemingly prompted an entire community to embrace him with great pride, love, admiration and value him with such high regard. I felt an unexplanable familiarity about him that compelled me to learn more. Only now that I have learned more of his character, I realize this is because he is the embodiment of so much that I hold to be true, and so much more that I can yet only strive for and hope to achieve before I leave this life myself.
What I have learned about Brandon is that during his life, and now with his passing, he is embraced with love, admiration and the highest esteem by not only his family, friends and co-workers, but by his entire community, and this, solely because of what he holds true in his heart. What is it that determines the measure of man or woman? I believe that this is determined by the amount of love that a person has in their heart and their willingness to share that love with others. In this, it would seem that Brandon has truly excelled, by touching the hearts of so many, being a positive and constructive presence in his community, as he has and continues to be an example and inspiration to others.
I am certainly not a biblical scholar, but there are two lines from St. John that I have held with high regard for all of my adult life and forms the basis for the great respect that I hold for the military and law enforcement. Jesus said This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. It seems to me that Brandon chose his path with this as his sincerely held belief and truest intent. A man whose heart is deserving of great honor and respect!
Based upon what I have read, I can only conclude that Brandon is an exceptional human being who wholeheartedly embraces a path of service to people and animals as well. I truly believe that the people and circumstances that enter our lives become a integral part of our personal growth, whether positive or negative. Some people may strengthen our character and ultimately, coupled with the choices we make, help lead us to find truth in values such as respect, honor, truth, integrity, love, dedication and service to others. These people can be a guiding light on our individual journey's in our search for fulfillment in this life, if we are willing to see. Those who recognize the worth of these values carry them in their hearts and long to share them with the world to earnestly and selflessly make it a better place. Some may embrace a few of these values during their lifetime, but from what I have read about Brandon, even as a young man, he has excelled in every one of these values. By comparison, many people, often through a very long lifetime of choices, may never come to recognize the truth and fulfillment that these values have to offer.
You may have noticed that I have been referring to Brandon in the present tense, and for good reason. He lives on through those of you who know Brandon and it is my hope that you will be comforted and not focus on the loss of his presence. His indelible touch lives on in the hearts and souls of all that have known him and the community that he has loved and so honorably served. It is I who feels great loss. Loss, for having to learn of such a great man in this way and for never having the honor of knowing him. Yet, I am evidence that Brandon's legacy lives on and continues to inspire and touch the hearts of others. Brandon's character reinforces my faith that there is still much good in a very troubled world and his life of love and service has strengthened my own character and perspective on the world. I never had the honor of meeting Brandon, but now that I have gained an awareness of him, perhaps I may yet realize that honor in the next life.
Though seemingly too soon, Brandon's journey has now lead him to the Lord. As our journey's continue, Brandon lives on in our hearts. What greater legacy could anyone ever hope to achieve than to have touched the heart of another? It would seem that Brandon has touched many, many hearts. A gift, meant to be shared, from Brandon to all who find great value in his character, love in his heart and have been touched by his soul. Gifts that transcend this life into the next.
In closing, I'd like share a line from what, to me, is a very profound and meaningful country song called Journey On. Make the most of all that you've been given. Journey on.
Go well into every day . . .