It seems like everyone I know has a Ray story of some kind. And as I have looked back over the last twenty some odd years, so many of our stories intertwine and overlap as this great guy had a special way of weaving everyone he cared about together.
He was way more than a boss at MediSYS.
He was a mentor to most. A dad to some. And a friend to all.
I think it would be fair to say that once you met Ray, he had an impact on your life. Every one of us at MediSYS had our own special relationship with him. He was so many things to so many people.
Funny. Kind. Generous. Hard-working. You name it – he knew something about it.
He never met a stranger. No matter where he went or what he did he would always find a way to leave with a new friend.
Yes, each conversation may have led down a few rabbit trails with Ray, but he always found great joy in his stories and tales and you could be assured of a good laugh. I could sit for hours, as could most of you, and tell story after story of Ray, but today, I want to simply share a few things about his heart.
Ray was a man with a radical love you don’t see very often today. I pray we don’t ever forget the kind love he shared.
Looking back, Ray has been preparing us for this moment. For the last several months of his life, I have been blessed to see a tender side of his big ole heart. And, often, those moments centered around all of you – his family, his employees and his friends. As typical Ray, he would share old stories and fun memories of the family he loved. He would ask questions about friend’s families and share advice and encouragement with anyone who would listen.
The one thing that was different were the tiny tears that seemed to escape even through the biggest of smiles. There was a peace about him and a tenderness that I think could only be described as God-given. Whenever I would go to him about an issue, personal or business, lately his message was very much the same. “Jesus has already won! The victory is ours!” And, he meant it. It was so fitting that yesterday as we said our good-byes, victory was such a BIG part of the message. And the pipe organ played out this mantra he lived, “Victory in Jesus!”
I watched over just the last few weeks at how sweet God was to Ray in his final days here. So many moments and memories have unfolded to remind me that God blessed Ray in a special way as He prepared to welcome him home. He seemed to enjoy every moment and although it doesn’t seem possible, he seemed to do even more for others.
He went ‘live’ on Facebook often. Which we at MediSYS all laughed at but loved! He was such a vibrant part of our days. He brought laughter and breakfast and mischief and most importantly love to MediSYS each and every day and he will be greatly missed by all of us.
He shared repeatedly with several of us at MediSYS how important he felt it was for everyone to really know Jesus. He talked earnestly about it. Yes, there were laughs and funny tales in between, (like how he made plans to leave my church a pipe organ when he passed away because he could not believe any church would not have one – he loved to joke about that with me!) However, the main message remained the same.
He believed everyone needed Jesus and a church family to love on them. He lived that and shared that any chance he had.
My wish today would be that his hope would be fulfilled and that each of us would know his Jesus.
No, Ray was not a perfect man, but he loved a perfect Savior. In a BIG way.
His love for Jesus is evident in how he loved each of us. I can say, I learned a lot as I watched him love others so well. Going out of his way to serve with his entire heart anyone in need. His generosity and kind heart will be so missed.
There will never be another Ray Little.
In closing, I would ask, in his memory that you find someone today to love like Ray loved all of us.
And, every day that follows.
He would want that. It would honor his memory more than any other thing you could do.
Just load up your trailer and take supplies to those without because of the hurricane.
Spend time with an elderly family member just being patient and encouraging.
Offer to buy someone’s lunch or treat your office to ice cream just because.
Swing by the store and buy someone flowers – they don’t have to be expensive. It’s the thought that counts.
Give a hand up to someone who has had a hard start.
Take time to just listen to someone and ask about their family.
Listen to oldies music loud and share memories of a generation passing way too quickly with those younger.
Memorize a few Bible verses. You never know when you might need them.
Drive a little further down the highway to say hello to that long-time client or friend.
Know the trash man and the UPS man by name. Thank them often.
Give away your Bama tickets to someone whose never been to a game – as he would say, we all know who is going to win!
Give some BIG hugs.
Take care of those closest to you and those you may not know yet.
And, ‘go live’ every chance you get.
Let your life be one that shines in the darkness for all to see.
Leaving others better than you found them. Every time you leave them.
That was our Ray. Not just the ‘MediSYS’ Ray, but the ‘every single day’ Ray.
And, we all loved him.
Although our hearts are broken, we know his legacy will live on through all of you – his dear family and friends.
Through little acts of kindness. Radical love. And, yes, even some rabbit trail stories!