I Think He Wanted to Fly


drawing by Macy Jones


When I answered the phone, I could barely understand Reid through his sobbing.  “Dad, Sheldon’s dead.” In an instant, we had all lost special person.

Sheldon and Reid had been friends all of their childhood. Sheldon was one of those kids who like to “live on the edge.” Fear didn’t seem to be in his vocabulary. I can still remember the shock I felt when I heard that he jumped off of the back of the football stadium. Later, I told Sheldon that he could get hurt doing such foolish stunts. He just looked at me and said, “I won’t get hurt,” and then smiled that smile of his.

Sheldon used to come to Nitro, and I always liked talking to him. It seemed to me that he liked to think deep thoughts. One time he told Reid that I was a good conversationalist. I still cherish that complement from Sheldon.

It’s been over a month since his death, but I still think about him and his life regularly. He’s not bound by his earthly body, and thanks to Jesus he is not bound by death. I see by looking at his Facebook page that I’m not the only one that still has him in my heart. About three months before the accident, Sheldon replied to a friend of his regarding the thought of time. Sheldon wrote, “You’ll soon discover that time doesn’t really exist…” heady thoughts for a twenty-something.

I have memories of Sheldon riding his bike around town, playing football, running track, singing a Green Day song at graduation, and coming to Nitro. The summer he and Reid graduated. They were walking around with Matt and discussing the questions of life such as, “Why am I here, and what am I going to do?” They called me, and I visited with them until late into the night. Once again, I felt privileged to be a part of the conversation.

Music was important to Sheldon, and when I think of him and his death I can’t help but think of the song “Elijah” by Rich Mullins.  The chorus goes:

But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye

Rich Mullins died suddenly in a tragic car accident like Sheldon. Rich and Sheldon had similar spirits. They both did not want to be bound by the world.

I think they both wanted to fly…

Sheldon was on the first ministry team that Mike and I too to Camp Alphie, which is a camp for kids with cancer. Needless to say, Sheldon was in his element.

A scholarship in memorial for Sheldon has been set up at Camp Alphie.

Camp Alphie
P.O. Box 3819
Amarillo, TX 79116-3819


About dwinger

Former farmer, now college instructor
This entry was posted in Children, Death, Listening for God, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Think He Wanted to Fly

  1. Frances Atwood-Frost says:

    Thank you Davin. I just found this today. He was an awesome child. We were blessed. I so appreciate and cherish everybody’s thoughts and feelings for Sheldon. We all knew a different side of him. Again, thank you.

  2. dwinger says:

    Frances – What a special young man he was. I think of him often.

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