From the moment I first met Clay, I remember thinking to myself, "This guy is out of this world."
If you never had the privilege of knowing Clay,
Let me try and paint a picture of the kind of guy that Clay was.
Clay had spirit like nobody you've ever met before.
He would paint his entire body purple and wear underwear and a cape for TCU games. I think he made nearly every TCU athletic game. He never failed to break an awkward silence with a "Go frogs." He bled purple. Clay York is the definition of a true horned frog.
Clay always had time for you.
Clay was like a triple major..which is like not even legal (*technically, he was a double major in Dance and Ballet with a minor in Journalism), And he always had his plate completely full. He worked for TCU 360. He was an RA. Also, He was an honors student who graduated magna cum laude. But you would NEVER know that he had all that going on because he always made time for people. People were his priority. Above all else. Always. I don't know how he pulled it off.
Everybody knew and loved Clay.
Clay York was probably the most popular guy I have ever known. Honestly, at TCU, he was a celebrity. Everyone either knew Clay personally or had heard of him.. And I'm talking about everybody. Everywhere I went with Clay, it seemed like he knew everybody. It was almost impossible to go anywhere with him because we always were stopping and talking with people. To give you an even better idea, some days Clay would find himself spending up to 2-3 hours in the school's cafeteria just chatting away with all of his friends. Somehow, he knew everyone. It was unreal. I guess it makes sense though... afterall he was Mr. TCU.
Clay could always make your day.
Clay was an absolute goof ball. Always making me laugh..Whether it was him serenading me with his hilarious original rap songs or magically lifting me "Dirty Dancing"-I Had the Time of my life-style, that boy always made my day.
Clay made you feel like you were the most special person in the world.
I wish I could selfishly say that above everybody else, I was Clay's favorite and most special friend (after all, he did unoficially propose to me numerous times and arrange wedding plans for us...) but I know that he made a bunch of other people feel just as special and loved as I did. I hate to admit it, but he was not only just mine. But, I'm actually ok with that. In fact, I'm more than ok with that. I'm so glad that Clay fully loved other people with the same capacity that he loved me because everybody deserves to be loved like that. I am so beyond lucky to have met Clay.
FINDING OUT THE NEWS
I'll never forget this Christmas Eve. At around 4 PM., December 24, I found out that Clay had passed away at 11:30 PM Dec. 22 in New York City. I do not think I'll ever be able to describe in words the way I felt in that very moment. Tears just started streaming down my face as I scrolled through Facebook in disbelief. "This cannot be real. There is no way..." I thought to myself. Then I picked up my phone and saw the dozens of text messages and missed calls asking if I had heard the news and if I knew what happened. I was absolutely shocked. It was probably one of the most surreal moments I have ever experienced. Still to this very day, I cannot believe that he is gone. It still just does not seem quite real. I still feel like we'll talk on the phone some time soon...or continue our last conversation that we had on Facebook... I still feel like I'll be flying out to New York someday to see him perform in one of his dance shows...I still feel like he'll be standing up in my wedding someday...It is still hard for me to completely come to grips with the fact that he physically willl not be here to be apart of those future things.
I am so heartbroken.
But I am not without hope.
While I can not see or hear him, I know he is still here.
And the same goes for God.
"I used to spend time wondering why I did not hear the audible voice of God. Now I just try to listen harder with my heart, and I've realized a couple things that seem kind of obvious now. God doesn't talk to us in an audible voice because God isn't a human being; He's God. That makes sense to me, because human beings are limited and God isn't at all. He can communicate to us in any way He wants to anytime he wants to. Through flowers, other people, an uncomfortable sense, a feeling of joy, goose bumps, a newfound talent, or an appreciation we acquire over time. It doesn't need to be a big mystical thing like other people make it out to be."
-Love Does, Bob Goff
FEELING MY ANGEL
If you could not tell, Clay was like a real life living and breathing angel.
He was an angel here on Earth, and now he is an angel in Heaven.
God is not done with using Clay. He's nowhere close.
He has his hands all over this. And he's doing something through all of this.
Something that we cannot quite see or understand yet; but one day will.
When Clay passed away and went to Heaven, I feel like a part of me went with him
because I feel more connected to Him and whatever lies beyond this world than ever.
These past couple of days, I have been feeling things that I have never felt before.
Feelings that are, once again, nearly impossible to describe...
but are worth trying to because I think they should be shared.
I want to share with you how I have been feeling both the Lord and Clay's presence lately.
I feel him through the chills, the memories that keep replaying in my head, the secret videos I keep discovering, "our songs" that keep playing, the unexplainable moments of peace and clarity that I keep experiencing, the way my perspective is changing...
Some serious changes are happening inside of me.
The Lord is at work. I mean, He is always at work. But now, I finally recognize and feel it in a different way.
Whenever I think of Clay, this beautiful visual comes to mind,
reminding me that he might not be as far away as he seems.
I see this image of me, surrounded by these four dimensions or "walls" called Earth.
Just outside of these four "walls", I see this image of the Lord and Clay in Heaven.
(It's hard to describe, but I see them as being one. As if the Lord has him wrapped up in one huge embrace and has joined himself with Clay.)
Although the Lord and Clay are in Heaven, they are not confined to just staying there. They are able to transcend the Earthly "walls" and be with us in ways that I cannot fully explain or understand.
It's a presence that is both impossible to describe but impossible to ignore.
You all must know,
they are with us.
Clay and God.
Always with us.
And ironically, Clay told me this in one of the messages that he sent me:
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
I think that the song "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe paints a really beautiful picture of what it might be like when we finally come face to face with God. Also, it gives me a visual of what it might have been like in that moment when Clay finally went home.
"I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine
Surrounded by Your glory
what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine."
I imagine Clay was dancing the moment he arrived in Heaven.
WHAT A LEGACY
Clay York, what a legacy you have left behind.
You truly lived.
You touched the lives of thousands.
And you have forever touched mine.
I pray that you will be with me everyday for the rest of my life.
Showing and reminding me how to live every day to the fullest,
how to love like my life depended on it and, ultimately, how to truly glorify the Lord with every part of my life. You did such a great job at that.
Part of my New Years Resolution is to live more like you.
So, thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for not only coming in to my life, but for staying in it. It won't be long till we are together again, but until then, each day, I will carry you with me, my angel.