I have this friend.
The night that my mom died he showed up on my front porch. There really weren’t any words and there didn’t need to be any. He’s that kind of friend. He was her same age and he was on his 2nd or 3rd cancer that he was swiftly defeating. He was battered and torn but still fighting. And as of that afternoon my mom’s fight was over. So he showed up at my porch without words in the dark of the night – handed me a plate of cookies and just gazed at me. He has the most telling gaze. Eyes that speak when words can’t. From his heart to mine was a silent conversation that included his frustration that he could fight for himself but not for her, that he’d beaten various cancers and she couldn’t beat her one and only, and that this was the reminder he didn’t care to get that he too was merely mortal. And as we talked I saw something more in his eyes….the eyes of a daddy looking at me and thinking of his 2 girls. He had hugged me a million times before but that day his hug was deeper and spoke volumes about the reality that one day his girls might be on a porch getting cookies…
That day my friend became more to me than just any friend.
And that telling gaze of his…..this last 2 weeks it was a lifeline. As he laid in ICU with an oxygen mask that kept him from talking to me those eyes said it all. When they asked if he knew who I was those eyes grinned and made the smart alec joke that I know his lips would have made if they could. His eyes told me that his fear wasn’t for himself but for his girls and his wife and I promised him that we had those girls – they would be held and loved – and those eyes understood and told me that he believed me. When I told him that day that he was the lucky dog here – that he was the one getting the big prize those eyes glimmered a knowing that made me jealous to my core. Out of ICU with the mask gone I would get a raspy “Amy” when I came in the room, but it was those smiling eyes that I was there for. Hands down one of the strongest men I know was as weak I could ever imagine him yet he could smile with those eyes and it was like nothing was wrong at all. His eyes. Then today they were closed when I sat with him. I didn’t get the smile and gaze.
I have this friend.
And tonight my friend is dancing with Jesus. He is healed and whole and those eyes….oh those eyes are probably sparkling in a way like I’ve never known. If it goes like I imagine it goes, my friend is meeting a whole line of people who’s lives he has touched and made better. Who met him and wanted to know that same Jesus he knows because it is just somehow made him a better man.
His daughter told me that she prayed he would never be forgotten – that the greatest legacy of a person is that they are missed and remembered. That will be his legacy, indeed. Every story he ever told me, every time he let me vent, every joke he told when I needed it, every text he sent me to check on a sports score…..never will be forgotten. And those sweet eyes. Never forgotten.
I have this friend.
And I am beyond thankful that he came into my life, forever grateful that my memories are a gift I can carry, and anxious for the day when I see those sparkling eyes again.
I love you Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me up out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in my day of disaster but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.