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