I’m Matt’s great uncle and I’m here to speak for the family. You may know this, but it is implied in the bulletin and the service that the name Matthew means “gift from God”. And that basically says it all.
As Father has said, he is an incredible being and will continue to be an incredible being for us. Let me just share briefly ways in which I have received that gift. It was the sparkle in his eye, the twinkle, the gift of joy. I have never known anyone to have that deep abiding joy just emanating out - whatever happened he still had that smile of joy.
I have a baseball story. Living in Rehoboth, Delaware, Matt and his family would come to Georgetown for tournaments and I was invited by Matt to come and see one of his games, which I did, and in that game Matt pitched and he pitched a one hitter. And in addition to pitching a one hitter, he hit a home run and two singles. I mean he did the whole thing.
And I went up to him afterwards and I was just so excited about that. And he had this little shy, maybe sly smile which told me two things; one, was he knew he was good, but the second, was that he was not going to make a big deal of it. He wasn’t going to brag about it. He was not going to overwhelm his teammates with his excellent performance.
But I think the greatest gift for me, was one of friendship. I could understand him being friends with all of you here but he took that interest in me, this old codger, this relic of the family. And he, he really cared that I came to his game. He really wanted to have a relationship with me.
Not long after, we went to a Nationals game, and Matt and I spent a long time looking for a tee shirt for me. So we have the red tee shirt with the W on the front and the Strasburg on the back. I have it, which I treasure, because it reminds me of that connection.
I need to shift gears here for a moment, because I feel like I want to speak for Matt to you, his family. Matt had the gift of love. His love for you was unconditional, was forever. He wants nothing more than for you to experience the fullness of life. He wants the best for you.
This is an amazingly difficult time for you. It is a time fraught with all sorts of pitfalls. I’m not saying you need to avoid grief; you need to embrace grief. This is such a horrible loss, but you need to know that you can find a way through this and his desire is for you to be stronger, as individuals, and stronger as a family.
That’s his great love for you and he wants that to happen. And all of us around you will be helpful in that process. And finally a family story since I am representing the family. It goes back long - I am stretching the extended family for four generations to my grandmother, Mom-Mom Green – who, when she held a baby in her arms, or when she had a visit from a grandchild would say,
“Ah, here is my precious gold, my precious gold”.
My friends, we have been given precious gold through the life of Matt. The question to ask once again, like Father said, is what are we to do then? And my suggestion is that we invest part of it in living out those things that we most admire in Matt so that his continuing presence can be felt in this world, so his spirit can be felt in this world through us.
I know of no better way to honor him then to do that.