According to the world’s math, he was average. Academically and athletically he was right in the middle of the bell curve. Professionally, as a teacher and coach, he took home an average paycheck. He chose to live, work, and worship within a mile of the school he graduated from. He had a wife, two kids and a picket fence. Last week, he died young at the hands of an all too common foe—cancer. By most accounts, many would say an unremarkable life. Or was it?
There are many here who trace their friendship with Bruce back to our time at PLU; for me that reaches back to 1983 (33 years). I met Bruce our junior year when I became his RA at notorious Ivy Hall. I say notorious, because Ivy at the time was quite proud of its rebel image.
That year I soon discovered what epitomized Bruce; his ability to befriend all kinds of people—even those whose view of the world was different from his. He didn’t hide his faith. But Bruce had the ability to come along side and walk with those who too often recoiled at Christianity. Bruce was a good ambassador for Jesus.
And it is that word “friend” that truly captures Bruce for many of us. He was a faithful man.
He was a plodder, too. And I mean that only in a complimentary way. That is, he just kept moving forward. Often with head down, taking the tasks and responsibilities that came his way and diligently fulfilling them. Not raising his hand to be noticed, he just did what a Christian, a husband, a father, and friend should do—responsibly and faithfully being about the Lord’s work.
“A friend loves at all times…” says the Proverb. That was Bruce.
Friendships forged over three decades are special. Many here would agree. There is a rich history; a bond that was established long ago between many of us.
On the subject, C.S. Lewis wrote, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” I had the privilege of living in that circle with my friend Bruce.
You see, when you start adding everything up, Bruce was anything but average. God scores life differently. Bruce gave his life away; to his God, his wife, his kids, and his friends. And when you give your life away like that you always end up with more—the summation of such a remarkable life.
God Bless the memory of Bruce Miller. Chris, Ethan, and Grace; live in the hope and certainty of the resurrection of the dead.
I look forward to seeing my faithful friend again. I know I will.
Rich Hamlin (and on behalf of Lynn, Isaiah, Claire, and Joel)
April 20, 2016
[This letter is part of Bruce’s eulogy to be read at his memorial service]