Thanksgiving with the family is always a nice time, and today was no different. I enjoyed my brothers and sister, and the Larsen family today. (The Larsen family are the in-laws of one of my brothers. We share a thanksgiving meal together every year).

Just before the meal began, though, I spoke with my brother/host for a bit. What he had to say to me took my breath away. I’m still struggling with it, and finding myself sadder as time goes by. He told me that a good, old friend of mine named Wayne had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer. He also told me Wayne had just had surgery to amputate part of his leg. I don’t know about you, but hearing that sort of thing is enough to send me off, deep into thoughtland.

Wayne and I go back about nineteen years. He owns a tavern/Restaurant/banquet hall, and I used to tend bar for him, in the days when I was a little younger. If I recall correctly, he is about sixty years old now. Back when I saw him nearly every day, he was a big, strapping fellow, strong as an ox. He used to work about eighty-five hours a week at his tavern, and it truly was a place where everyone knew everyone else’s name, sort of like Cheers from television, but the cast of characters would have been much, much larger.

Wayne and I did not always see eye to eye, especially when I was younger, and more foolish than I am now. But over time, we came to understand each other. He once gave me the highest compliment he would give anyone. He told me that he looked at me as a son. Wayne has three lovely daughters, but no sons, and no grandsons…only granddaughters.

Last year, I had a chance to visit Wayne once a week, because I was working on a project that was in his area of the state. So, every Thursday, for six months, I ate lunch at his restaurant, and we would visit each other for a while. It was a nice reunion, and I found out that somehow, I had earned his deepest respect just for driving an hour and a half once to visit him in the hospital ten years ago. I never thought much of it. Apparently, he did. That really touched me.

Tonight, I am just very sad over this news. I have tried to think of a way to visit him, but work is so cramped for time right now, I don’t see how it’s possible. So, I searched the internet, to see if I could find an email address, and I found a link to a quilt guild his wife Jeanne runs with an email addie. I sent a message to it (not knowing if it was still valid), hoping for a reply, and hoping maybe we could talk with each other by email, for now, until I can get down by him.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to call him, but really, how can I approach that? What do I say? “Oh…sorry you lost part of your leg?” sigh…………………

God…help me to help him. It hurts to even think about this. I saw my dad today, and for the first time, I noticed how old he seems lately, too. Time is advancing, Father, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Wayne needs you, NOW. Please help him to know You, to find You, to have some peace. He has worked so hard serving people, and I know that taverns aren’t the cleanest places, but I know Jesus would go there. I am asking you to send Him, send me, find a way, please? I want Wayne to know You, now, while he can still gain peace in this life. I want for You, Father, to save him, but also to give him Your Rock to lean on through this. Will you? Please? Amen


Feeble Knees said...

Hi Tom, I am so sorry to hear about Wayne. As hard as it may be, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call him. It may be just what you and he need. A little bit of normalcy - chatting about baseball or old memories could do him more good than you know. You don't have to say anything profound at all. Like visiting him in the hospital before, just your being there mattered to him.

Even if we never get to speak of Him at all, everywhere we go we still bring Jesus with us. Never underestimate God's ability to work through you, even when you are at your biggest loss of how to address such a tragedy. When you are weak, He is strong, and He is the God of all comfort...

We'll be thinking of you and of Wayne. God bless you both.

Tom Reindl said...

Feeble Knees,

I've decided I am going to go visit him this coming Friday. I just don't like talking about this type of stuff over the phone, and I know I should probably get over that, but really, a visit might just help me see his perspective rather than hear about it, you know?

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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