Listen. I’m really not being lazy by sharing something I wrote a year ago.
But, sometimes, when I read it again, I see a message that needs to be shared.
So, from Jan 16, 2018, a story about my good friend, Jim.
The Freezer was full.
“Wendy, I cannot get this chicken and ground beef in here. There is no room! We have twenty bags of the enchilada sauce you made in March.”
(Now, that was an experience! Red enchilada sauce on the walls, the light fixtures….)
Before I knew it, she had offered to share some of the enchilada sauce on Facebook. I would carry it to church with me on Sunday.
After church was over, I had successfully shared with all the prospects. Except one. Vicki had slipped out before I could catch her.
I called her.
“Oh, Randy I looked for you, but I didn’t find you,” she said.
I told her I would bring it by her house.
She met me at the door, thanked me with a smile. “You want to come in and say hi to Jim?”
When Wendy and I started going to Hollybrook in 2001, we joined a Sunday Bible study class. Jim was one of the teachers. When we had the accident in 2002, the one that took Chelsey to her eternal home, Jim and Vicki were among the first to show up at the hospital.
Jim took me to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee. He told me the story of his son that had died a few years earlier, on his way home, in a crash.
“ I was so mad at God…’Why would you let this happen?’ I cried out in anger. This anger wrapped me up for quite some time. I believed in God, heaven, even that my son was there…but I was angry that he wasn’t with me.”
He told me how he reached a point one day, where he was thinking about heaven, thinking of the Life that is there, that his son is experiencing.
Someone asked him, “If you could bring him back, right now, would you?”
Jim looked at me across the table. “Randy, at that moment, I was totally aware that that would be the most selfish act I could ever do! I realized that I could not do that, that I would not do that. From that point on, my healing began.”
Jim was sitting in his recliner, a blanket over him to ward off the constant chill. He was so thin, pale.
“How are you doing ?” I asked. “I mean, I know you aren’t feeling good, but how are you doing?”
He smiled. “Randy, one thing I know. Chemo is not gonna be what decides if I live or die. If I live, well He still has something for me to do here. If not, well, I’ve got a lot of people I’m really looking forward to seeing.”
Vicki was standing beside him, smiling. “We don’t know how long any of us have. Jim could outlive me…. “
Jim told me of the cancer in his esophagus that caused him pain every time any kind of food had to navigate its way through. “Even oatmeal. I’m 6 feet tall. I used to weigh 215. I’m down to 135. “
We talked on. I told him of my memories of that day in 2002, how important that conversation was to me, how God had used him and Vicki in our lives.
Now, I’m going to try to describe something.
As we were talking, I looked at Jim’s face, and it appeared to be glowing. The smile was a smile of complete freedom, a peace that cannot be described. He appeared to be someone who, in his pain and struggles, was finding a comfort that soars above the physical, that touches deep inside.
JOY! That is what I saw!
It looked like cancer was winning the battle, if you couldn’t see what I saw.
But, I knew.
Jim was winning this fight!
He had already won!