You Just Never Know (Updated With Funeral Arrangments)

We went shoe shopping tonight, but that doesn’t really matter. I tell you that only to give you the context for what follows. When we got home, I was tired, irritated and just not feeling very well. As I mentioned in my earlier blog today, I’ve been re-visiting some old memories in an effort to revise and release a memoir on my daughter, Ruthanne, and it’s been a bit tougher than I anticipated. It got tougher still when I checked Facebook once I got home.

I had a message from a friend of mine, Tim, who is a youth pastor in Alabama. We both served at the same church in 1998-1999, me as the youth minister, he as children’s. Tim is a good man, a good husband and a good father. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a message from him.

Then the pleasantness went away.

Jason, don’t know if you’ve heard yet or not, but Karl Turner was killed today. Google crane accident atlanta.

The wind went out of me. I called Rachel over and read the message to her.

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “That just gave me chills.”

I Googled exactly what Tim said, and sure enough, there were plenty of articles about an accident today in Atlanta, where two workers were killed after a forty foot fall from a 80-ft. tall bucket lift. I went through three different links before I found what I was looking for on

The men, Rigoberto Lopez, 29, and Karlos Turner, 42, were working in what was described by emergency workers as an 80-foot lift. The lift was on Dallas Street off the 500 block of Glen Iris Drive when it fell over at about 1 p.m., officials at the scene said.

The men died from the fall…

I don’t know Rigoberto Lopez. I knew Karl Turner. I won’t pretend that we were best friends, but Karl was the worship leader at the same church where Tim and I served together. He was a good man. He was a good father. He was kind, and generous, and loved to laugh. Mostly, when I think of Karl, I just think about his humility. He wasn’t a braggart. He wasn’t brash. He was just a good man.

And now he’s gone.

I spoke to my students last night about death, how it’s the inescapable destination for all of us. We talked about the fact that death isn’t something to be taken lightly, and that even teenagers need to think about it at least on some level, because it will touch us all in some way. I told them that sometimes I feel as though I’m too familiar with it, because it seems like a month never goes by without my learning of someone passing away.

I believe it even more now.

Tonight, in Dallas, Georgia, a wife, a daughter, and a son are trying to comprehend the unfathomable: that their beloved husband and father is gone. If you have a moment, please take some time to pray for them – for tonight and the days ahead. And while you’re at it, pray for all of us, because you just never know.

You really just never know.

**Update: The arrangements for Karl‘s funeral and visitation have been set. Visitation will be at Carmichael Funeral Home on Saturday, December 3, from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM. The funeral will be held at Karl’s home church, Elizabeth Baptist, at 2 PM on Sunday, December 4.**

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