Archive for December, 2012

REFLECTION: A tribute to a dear friend…

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

As I flipped through some pod casts the other day, I heard an atheist blame God for a tragedy and she then claimed how she hated Him. I’ve heard about and read similar cases. Of late, I’ve begun to ponder why there are those who don’t believe in God and yet, they are the very ones who blame Him when something goes wrong.

Can Someone who doesn’t exist cause things to go wrong? I don’t think so. Perhaps, the truth is they realize God exists, but they don’t know how to believe in Him or, they don’t want to stop participating in what they have been engaged in and so they choose not to believe in Him?

And then, there I was last week, one who believed and loved Him with all my heart, soul, mind and might (but only through His grace)….who kneeled before Him and asked why two of my friends were suffering so. I begged for His mercy and I begged for His grace and healing over their lives. I didn’t and couldn’t understand and I told Him how much it hurt to know how they were suffering.

Did God ignore me? I don’t think so. I believe it was He who brought me into action. Wanting and hoping to bring some early Christmas cheer, a turkey and trimmings were prepared together with scalloped potatoes. Three plates were prepared for friends who lived on their own and among them was one who I prayed for. I cheerfully greeted him when I called and I asked if I had woken him when he answered so wearily. He mentioned he was suffering from food poisoning and I responded that I would be by soon with Pepto-bismal. He added he wasn’t dressed and I replied “I promise I won’t look.”

My friend was living alone and I didn’t want him to spend Christmas in solitude. By 1:00 p.m., I had the Pepto-bismal in tow together with a surplus of canned soup, crackers and toilet paper among others. The turkey and the trimmings came along, but that was no longer the priority. He let me in but his struggle to put the phone back on its cradle echoed over the intercom. We spoke some, yelling across the closed door leading to his apartment because he was too weak to get up. He asked me to leave everything outside his door and he said he would pull everything in when he was feeling better. He promised he’d give me a call.

I called him at 4:00 p.m. the same day, but I was greeted by his answering machine. All of my other calls the next two days were greeted by the same. I called the hospital Saturday afternoon, but he wasn’t there. I had wanted to drop by again, because this time, I had a huge Christmas hamper for him from our parish St. Vincent de Paul society. I was apprehensive for a while but a few hours later, I was comforted by the lyrics “Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come follow me and I will give you rest.”(from Isaiah 52:12) By then I was ready to drop off the hamper when I received an e-mail from a common friend. My dear and special friend had died.

We weren’t close and yet God had connected our lives and spirits so that he had a special place in my heart. I first met him many years ago during a bout of depression. A dear and common friend to us both, the late Pastor Art, had sent me his way, coaxing me to ask for prayers. I arrived at his parish alone and yet, when the man with the deep voice welcomed me, I knew I had come to the right place. Night after night, I returned for prayers and he and his congregation continued to welcome me warmly and they prayed fervently. Years later, another bout of depression surfaced, and once again Pastor Art encouraged me to return to “Wayne’s world”. Just as before, he welcomed me warmly and the healing prayers began. Since then, I had brought many Pastor Wayne’s way and each, in turn, were healed.

About nine months ago, Pastor Wayne’s world turned terribly wrong. My heart and mind still fail to comprehend what had happened or perhaps my spirit continued to reject his new reality. Last Monday, the pain I sensed was so unbearable and the Lord and I wrestled about his situation as I knelt in prayer. Repeatedly, I questioned why one who loved and gave so willingly was so rejected by his own family and community. It was evident he suffered immensely from care-taker’s burnout, but was that cause to bar him from where he truly belonged?

I may never know what had happened, but I know he no longer is suffering. I thank God he is resting in peace now and I thank God he didn’t have to endure Christmas alone. I may never understand why things happened the way they did. In truth, I don’t need to any longer because “He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain (in Heaven). All these things are gone forever.” Revelations 21:4 (NLT)

Pastor Wayne was a good man. In fact he was a very good man and I believe I am alive today and so are many others because he prayed as God taught him to pray for His people. May you rest forever in God’s loving arms my friend…

God bless,

Melissa – December 27, 2012 – 12:45 pm