Lessons from @treypennington

This past weekend I lost a dear friend, Trey Pennington.  Trey and I first connected in the early days of Twitter.  We were to meet at Extreme Business Makeovers 2009, but circumstances prevented this from happening.  We postponed until the following year, but then my own circumstances prevented our in-person encounter.  All the while, we’ve connected across social media.

At times, our exchanges were humorous.  I recall laughing at the site of a picture he posted when taking his son for his driver’s license (notice – gold lipstick):

Trey Pennington - gold lips

Trey tells me this isn’t lipstick, as he doesn’t wear gold on Wednesdays.  It was surely a camera flare of sorts, but I’m still not sure.

In 2010, Trey reached out to me to tweak a few things in his website, http://treypennington.com.  I took a peak under the hood and fixed a few things as needed.  I also integrated a way for him to measure traffic, get found better, and integrate a few social media goodies into his site.  He then asked me for a quick rundown of all the things I could offer, as he wanted to help many more people with their websites in the same manner.  I was thrilled, as this was during a time that I had faced my own serious life challenges.  I was rebuilding my business, resurfacing to accept client work, and restoring confidence my own own abilities.  Trey understood the situations well enough, and was still eager to connect further.

In a professional sense, I always found interacting with Trey to have a strong networking sense.  When people truly care, have other’s interests in mind, they attract like-minded networkers.  See this thread of exchange just from a Facebook status update:

Trey Pennington - networker

Trey had a large crowd of support in the past few months.  He reached out and shared.  As a result, I am all the more convinced that there was nothing a human could have done to help the outcome any further.  As a Christian as well, I do believe Trey endured many spiritual battles. I cannot condone the final choice he made, but I can ultimately trust that God loves Trey in a way that we cannot yet grasp.  Trey’s professional life was reasonably transparent, and he made his faith known without imposing it upon others.  I pray that his children focus instead upon the man God loved, and know that like every human – Trey had his own struggles.

I have gone back through Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” and find such great comfort in it.

Much blood has been spilled in church splits, heresy trials, and raging debates over issues that are, in the end, not that essential. Sometimes what we are witnessing is simply a massive exercise in missing the point. Jesus frees us to call things what they are.

Rob Bell. Love Wins (Kindle Locations 57-59). HarperCollins.

Take off the judgements, lay aside the rumors of what was really happening, and look past the flaws.  What was your experience of Trey and how did he want to be known?  As for the rumors – do not let them be a reflection of how all Christians think, act, or believe.

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