Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled
In times of mourning, we must place our faith and trust in God:
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” -John 14:1-4, RSV
Yesterday, I lost someone very close to me, my brother-in-law, Thomas Nejmeh, and I want to dedicate today’s post to the impact he had on my life – and the lives of so many others.
Tom has been in my life for almost 25 years, and considering that I am only 33 years-old, you can understand how much he means to me. He was not just the guy who married by big sister; he was (and is) my brother, my family, and my friend. I looked up to him so much that he was even the godfather of my daughter. For all of these reasons, and many more, he will be dearly missed.
Throughout his life, Tom had a natural gift of gab that allowed him to bond with just about anyone. This made him a success in his career in sales, but more importantly, this allowed him to touch the lives of so many people. He had a magnetic personality that you could not resist. Once you knew Tom, you loved Tom. That’s just the way it is.
Tom never let these gifts go to waste. He was active in the community and in many ministries, especially the Knights of Columbus. He was a busy guy – always going somewhere, doing something for someone else. His entire life seemed focused on the impact that he could have on others.
St. Therese of Lisieux taught us that you could have a large impact on the world by devoting your life to helping others in even the smallest of ways. Tom seemed to understand and live that every day of his life. His every act and gesture added up to make a large difference in the world around him.
For many of you who are not reading my website for the first time, or those who know my story, you are already familiar with Tom – he played a pivotal role in my conversion to Catholicism. Some believe that it was my wife (girlfriend at the time) who drove the decision, but it was Tom who made the difference. Without Tom, I would probably not be Catholic today.
Back in 2009, while I was still piecing my life back together, Tom invited me to a Notre Dame football game. There were so many people that he could have invited – I was not even a Notre Dame fan at the time – but I felt honored that he chose me. He had always looked out for his wayward little brother, and this was one way of showing it.
At the time, I was lost in my faith. The shallow faith from the local mega-church was just not cutting it anymore. Going to Notre Dame opened my eyes to something completely different. For the first time, I saw the beauty and depth of Catholicism, and not just in the art and architecture, but in the hearts and minds of the Catholics I met that day. That one, small act of inviting me to a football game changed the course of my life forever.
I could fill a room with people who had similar stories. Tom’s words and actions touched the lives and hearts of everyone he met. Above all, he taught us all one thing: everyone can make a difference. We can change the lives of many just by following the ways of Christ.
In the end, Tom’s heart was so full of love that it finally gave out. At the young age of 40, he leaves behind a strong, faithful woman, and three beautiful kids. Please pray for them, and for all of us, as we go through the mourning process.
Lord, thank you for the gift of Tom’s life. His time here was too short, but we feel blessed to have known him. As in today’s verse, I know that You have prepared a place for my brother, and I am sure that it is covered in the blue and gold of Notre Dame and the pictures of his beautiful family.
Thank you, Tom, for being an amazing husband to my sister, father to my nieces and nephew, and brother to me. You will be greatly missed. Until we meet again, brother.