I sit in my home and my office surrounded by pictures of the things that mean the most to me in my life.
Each one of the pictures is important to a moment in my life if only because I have had the honor and the privilege to be in the life of those whose images are in them.
One of those pictures is from the 2016 Spare Key Groove Gala and it is a group of middle-age men dancing on the stage with a couple of young ladies enjoying the music.
One of those middle-age men is Scott Chapman who, at the age of 53, left us all too early this past week.
On that stage that night was love – joy – fun – and passion. I look at the picture and I imagine that each heart was full that evening as we wrapped up an event that serves as a fundraiser to help families with sick and injured children in the hospital pay their mortgages.
I forgot about who was in that picture until shortly after I spoke with Scott’s brother to share the grief that everyone at Spare Key has felt since learning of his passing.
I stumbled on it again after looking at Scott’s Facebook page and reading the notes from those who know and love him and already understand the depth of the loss of his presence on this Earth.
I will admit I did not know Scott well. He has been a supporter of Spare Key for several years, attending his first Groove Gala in 2013.
The first I knew of Scott on a personal level was when we were getting closer to the 2016 Groove Gala date and he made himself known on my Facebook page with a post on page that said, “I already got my tickets!”
I got to meet him at the Groove Gala and what struck me was that smile.
I know something about smiles. They are the window to the soul of everyone I know and love the most.
That smile is what made me fall in love with my wife minutes before I knew she was going to be my wife. It was my Daughter’s first greeting to me in the world. It’s that smile that makes me melt when my Son is filled with such happiness that his eyes simply disappear.
That was Scott’s calling card each time I saw him. Each time I saw him on Facebook.
I have seen pictures of Scott with his Daughters. That smile is there. With his friends. That smile is there. By himself. That smile is there.
Yet, I have come to learn that behind that smile was also pain and sadness.
Something that all of us deal with. Sometimes others deal with constantly. Sometimes others deal with it for years – others for months.
It’s hard to fathom for those of us who deal with pain and sadness in short intervals that there are those who must carry the burden of the weight of the unknown cause of their darkness nearly every single day of their lives.
What I know about Scott Chapman came from that smile. And, his heart.
A man who loved his children with such ferocity that you can almost feel the heat of his passion for them jump out of their pictures together. A man who inspired love from others in such enormous amounts that their grief must seem nearly impossible to bear.
Whether through his generous financial support of Spare Key, or his willingness to step up and serve on our Advisory Council, Scott was committed to our mission because he was committed to the bettering the lives of others.
Scott made it clear to me that he wanted to find ways to get his Daughters involved with helping others and hoped they could, as a family, be a part of helping other families in need.
At Spare Key, Scott Chapman helped families who were in their own difficult and dark places in life find hope and light in their most desperate hour. In their time of need Scott Chapman’s heart gave them grace.
They may never have met Scott in person.
But they know of Scott Chapman in their lives by the smiles of their children.