Josh Johnson (Grant’s childhood friend, since age 2, life long friend, closer than a brother friend)

No amount of words can communicate the whole of everything I feel and would like you all to know about Grant and how much he meant to me. This was my best friend. He was as close a brother. I love him deeply, and I miss him so much. A part of me has been ripped out. This will hurt for the rest of my life.

Growing up, Grant, Jordan, Brianna and I did everything together. From an early age, even though our families lived in different states, I have fond memories of us visiting each other almost every year. The pattern of nearly EVERY day we spent together went something like this: eat, do Grant’s chores (or watch him do them), swim, eat, swim, jump on the trampoline, jump on the trampoline some more, play Nintendo, sleep under stars on the trampoline, and then repeat. I remember going to the zoo, the water park, the movies, field trips, playing in the woods, watching Zorro each night before bed, and much more all like they were yesterday. Vacations to see Grant were always the highlight of my year. I remember one time in Washington State, when the McCormicks came to visit us. I stayed at the end of our long driveway ALL day until they came. And when they finally came I rushed out to see Grant. I couldn’t wait to see him. We always had a blast together. When we were apart, Grant began sending me letters. I still remember the first letter I got from Grant, at the age of 8 years old. He drew neat pictures in the margins, and told me all about what was happening in his life. And he signed it “Love, Grant.” That was the first time a friend ever told me that. Grant cared about people, he loved deeply, and this love was always genuine. This made me feel important to him, and that meant the world to me.

In 2001, my family moved to Arizona; in large part because of and for the McCormick’s and this church. The McCormick family exemplified the gospel, and honestly, in comparison, Grant was always a way better son and brother than I was. In all the years I’ve known and hung around Grant, I NEVER saw him get into trouble, and he always included his siblings in things he was doing. I’m sure my parents hoped he’d rub off on me. Well, he did. The next several years marked an incredibly strong and special friendship between Grant and me. Again, we did everything together. We were on the worship band together, did homework together, took the same college classes, and shared family game nights. When we’d spend the night at each other’s house we’d often go to Bahama Bucks, and then hit up Blockbuster for a movie. But most often we loved to just hang out and talk; and we enjoyed every moment we were together. Our friendship was also strengthened by how close our families were. Almost all vacations my family went on was with the McCormick’s: California, Hawaii, Six Flags, Lake Powell, Cabins up north, Snowboarding, Church Celebrations, you name it. Nearly every memory of my childhood, has Grant in them. He is what made my childhood so special.

In our 23 year history together, I always knew Grant to be the hardest, most committed worker at ANYTHING he did. In whatever he did, you knew he was going to give it his all. This was coupled with a strong faith and trust in what God was doing in his life and the direction God was taking him. These two traits were exemplified on my last phone conversation with Grant. On it, I asked him how his job search was going. He said it wasn’t going as he’d hoped, but he hadn’t lost hope. I could tell this really was the case by how and the way he talked. There was a lot of joy in his voice, one that only comes from God. His joyous attitude is significant, because through our conversation I learned that he had put out over 100 resumes with minimal response. What kind of man does that and doesn’t get discouraged and give up? Grant. His dedication and endurance is unprecedented.

I also never knew Grant to be one that got angry. No, literally, I never saw him angry. In this way Grant was living as if people around him were more important than himself, because getting angry would have just been about him. Grant wasn’t like that. This kind of perspective permeated his entire life. There was a peace about him that was contagious. This peace gave Grant the ability to value and enjoy every moment. When he was with you, he was always really with you, not distracted by something else.

Grant loved being around people. In nearly every youth or singles get together, you’d see him there. I remember many times I would have rather not gone to some of these events, but then I found out Grant was going, so I’d go. In that way, Grant taught me how to live life with people, and that the cost of being a little uncomfortable is worth it.

Grant loved to laugh. His laugh was a laugh that communicated so much about how he felt. When he laughed, you knew he was enjoying life and enjoying being with you. It was more than just an outward expression of being happy, his laugh had a relationship building effect. You felt close to him. I’ll never forget his laugh and the times we laughed together.

There is so much more I wish I could tell you about Grant, so much more in my heart that I will cherish forever.

Grant, my dear friend, I miss you so much. I’d always dreamed we’d grow old together, raising families, and reminiscing all the wonderful times we shared. I’d always hoped that those memories would continue as we raised children, who would have the same experience we had growing up. Your life made such an impact on my life. I promise your death will do the same. Words can’t express how grateful I am for you, and how much this hurts. I can’t wait to see again soon. I can’t wait to give you a hug and tell you how much you mean to me and how much I love you. I can’t wait to enjoy God’s presence together. I Love you.

To the McCormicks: I hope you know how much I love Grant. I will cherish every memory I had with him for the rest of my life. I want to thank you for opening up your family so I could be best friends with your son and brother. Grant made such an impact on my life. God used Grant to draw me to himself.

Glenn & Alisa, you raised a wonderful man; a man that means so much to me, and so much to a lot of people. You should have no regrets; the life that Grant lived was a wonderful life and you parented and loved him extraordinarily. From a very early age Grant was respectful towards others, humble, responsible, diligent, calm, and very intelligent; you instilled in him the value of representing God’s character by how he lived. Grant was grateful to be your son, and loved you very much. I know that not only because him and I talked about how special our parents were, but by the way he looked at you, responded to you, and included you in his life growing up.

This pain I feel with you won’t ever go away, and I don’t want it to. The road ahead is going to be so hard, and I’m not sure how we’ll get through. But, this is my prayer for you:

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”” (Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV)

I don’t know how God’s mercies will be new every morning, but I know they will. I love you guys.

To everyone else here: If Grant’s death is shocking and upsetting to you, it should be. A tragedy like this screams at you to evaluate what you’re living for: A successful career, a future spouse, family, happiness? God’s eyes are upon you today. Do not trust yourself; you will not stand. Trust in Jesus, who died for you so that you won’t have to taste the sting of death. Friends, if Grant were here he would want you to know that death did not win today. Death lost. Grant’s life may have been taken here, but new life has given to him in heaven.

The Friday before God called Grant to heaven, Grant was with fellow believers worshiping. Where will God find you when your time comes? It could be today or tomorrow. Are you ready for that? May we all be found the Friday before we die, worshipping God.

Josh Hoyt, (Grant’s room mate, friend, brother)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. This is the word of the Lord.

In the last season of life, Grant had a time of birth and of new experiences in Los Angeles. Grant had a time for planting and for sowing the seeds of his future. Grant had a time of building …literally… while working as an architect in the architecture capital of the world. Grant had a time of laughter and joy. Believe it or not, while living in Spain, Grant [and this may come as a surprise to you, Alisa] learned how to salsa dance….yes, he even had a time of dancing.

The wonderful life of Grant McCormick stands as a monument of a life set apart. Grant lived life to the fullest. And in this time of death, sadness, and of uncertainty, as we weep and mourn, we can also remember the laughter and the joy and dancing and the building… and know that the impact of Grant’s life is far from over.

These past few days, as I have been forced to consider the life of my dear friend Grant McCormick I have pondered the tremendous impact he had on me and I realized that he was a gracious gift to me and to all of us in this place.

Upon moving to Los Angeles nine months ago, I sat praying in my office that the Lord would send me a roommate with whom I could laugh and pray, and do life with. Twenty minutes after uttering those words to the Lord, a miracle happened, my childhood friend Grant, called me and let me know that he too was looking for a roommate ­­ in Los Angeles

We couldn’t believe it, it was ordained by the Lord that Grant and I should live together. Little did I know ­­ Grant would be not only an answer to prayer, and a roommate, but he would become a beloved friend and a brother. In the 9 months of Grant’s and my life together, we laughed, we prayed together, we celebrated, we cooked, HE cleaned (because he is a McCormick), and I even forced him out of his comfort zone to become my thrifting buddy.

Grant and I lived the good life. We experienced a friendship similar to that of David and Jonathan. As you know, the story of Jonathan and David is a biblical example of brotherly love and friendship.

Grant was my Jonathan. He was an ever present friend. No matter the situation, Grant was there for me. Grant was loyal.

As they say, quiet waters run deep. Grant was quiet and very deep in his soul. Psalms 23 says, the Lord leads us beside still waters to restore our souls. The quiet, confident presence of Grant was restorative. He was an anchor to many.

Grant never was one to use more words than he needed, he didn’t need to hear himself speak for validation. And even in his quietness, Grant contributed more than anyone with his depth of spirit.

When Grant walked into a room, he brought a steadiness and a peace with him that pervaded any sphere.

When I would come home from work, worked up about this, that, or the other, Grant would bring a peace and a calm and a perspective that would bring me back to the earth.. Nothing shook him. He was steady and he was strong. He was kind and he was confident. His strength was wrapped in a thoughtful and unpretentious personality that made all feel welcomed and loved. Grant was strong and steady, he was quiet.

Moving to LA presented many challenges to both Grant and me…not the least of which is learning how to park your car in a city with 20 million. In one of Grant’s and my earliest conversations, I was bragging to him about how my parallel parking skills were UNPARALLELED .

I told him “since moving to LA I’ve gotten really good at parallel parking…sitting in the passenger seat, he replied “Great, let’s see it.”

I rubbed my hands together to warm up and proceeded to show off my newly acquired parking skill….

I pulled up even with the car in front and began to crank that wheel to get into the last spot in LA. BAM, I hit the curb…I looked over at Grant and he was smiling and said “Try it again.” I told him “Stop looking at me, you’re making me nervous. “

He just smiled. and I tried again…This time I missed the curb thank God but managed to bump the car behind me. Grant, smiling again said “And that is why they call them bumpers” I smiled and pulled up closer to the car in front while hitting it. This time, totally embarrassed by my apparent inability to park, Grant said, not bad, let’s try again tomorrow. And we did and I got better.

That’s just like Grant. No matter the circumstance, he always had a positive remark to make, he thought the best, believed the best and hoped for the best. He was unlike anyone I’ve ever known, Grant was an encourager.

There was no such thing as a bad day for Grant, each day met him with challenges and with opportunities to prove himself and to strive to make the world a better place. Grant travelled the world and pursued his education, because he believed that WITH the vision the Lord gave him to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, he could transform the world.

One of the last conversations Grant and I had was at a little dive bar in LA, we drank Argentinian beer and pondered the future and our involvement in solving the world’s problems. His refreshing perspective of putting others first even in his own life and future was completely inspirational. He talked about his dream of building cities and bringing life and prosperity to those in the third world. Grant wanted to see the world transformed by the love of Christ as shone through him. He approached life, even in the trials and difficulties with a childlike faith and with a chin up attitude. He had a steadiness that inspired not only me but everyone that came in contact with him. Grant was an optimist.

In the months and years ahead as we ask the unanswerable questions that will plague our thoughts and dreams, we should take the spirit of optimism from Grant and use his memory as an inspiration to move forward. It is what Grant would want from us.

The last week has been a devastating time for me personally and for my generation, I have seen a seismic shift as our generation has awoken to adulthood by tragedy. We have realized this week our own limitations, and our own finiteness. We realize that we are totally dependent on our Savior Christ for hope and for sustenance.

In a way, the torch has been passed and Josh and Jordan ­­ Brittney and Briauna ­­ Brianna, Colton, and Charissa­­ Kevin and Kelly ­­ Kiley and Brynn and I are carrying the mantle of strength and in moments of brokenness, we hold our families together. We are the shoulders OUR parent’s cry on. We are the arms that embrace OUR hurting loved ones. The Lord has given US His strength and His comfort so that WE can comfort others.

Brianna, I have to note that you have so cared in such a deep way for your mother in the past days. Your shoulder has been a place where she has found peace and comfort. Your mother has always cared for you so well and now the tables have turned in a funny way. You are there for her. You comfort her. You encourage her. I commend you for your example of love and of compassion.

Last Sunday, saying goodbye to my dear friend Grant was without a doubt the most tragic and the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. My soul was in anguish. I wept. And as I held Grant’s hand and kissed his forehead seconds after his passing, I told him how much his mom and dad loved him and how proud they were of him. I told him how his brother Colton and sisters Brianna and Charissa would miss his sweet friendship and spirit. I told him how proud I was of him and how much I loved him. I prayed a blessing over his spirit as I commended his soul into the hands of the Father. It was a scripture verse that the Lord prompted me to pray.  They were the last earthly words, Grant would ever hear.  “May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and make His face shine upon you. May the Lord give you peace and keep you safe.” Numbers 6:22-26

I did not know at the time, and only would discover later in the week, that this was the exact blessing that Alisa would pray over Grant, while laying hands on him, as a boy, every time he left the house. That was no coincidence!

So as I part with you, I remind you that though we weep in this moment we despair not for we trust not in the seen but we take hope in the One who transforms, and in the One who resurrects and in the One who restores.

We take hope in the One who said “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you may be where I am for in my Father’s house are many mansions.”

I can’t help but to think that with Grant’s love of architecture, he is plotting with the angels and tweaking the blueprints to make each of our mansions just a little bit better. A tweak here and a tweak there, we will see Grant again soon and we will dance in streets of gold and we will laugh again and we will plant and we will be restored in The City of Angeles, in The City of God.

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