I Had A Friend

A few days ago, my friend closed his weary eyes in a hospice bed in Georgia, and opened them in Glory. I miss him already.  

It was six years to the day that I had met him at work. He was assigned the thankless task of showing me how to be a contract specialist for the Air Force. I felt sorry for him and tried to be a good trainee. His organization habits spoke to my soul, and his patience and willingness to interrupt his workload- well, it was selfless. 

There was not a single workday that we didn’t talk, or email, or IM.  We were so very different, but had much in common. We were working with a primarily younger workforce who has a very different perspective on many things in life. While we both tried hard to be empathetic (me, more so than him), there were times when a snarky IM would be fired off, beginning a back-and-forth secret venting session where we both gave that younger generation what-for. They never knew.

He made me laugh, and not many people are able to do that. Oh, there are a lot of people who can make me laugh. But not like he could.  I can’t recall how many times a message from my friend would pop up on my computer that would make me literally laugh out loud, a snorting, coffee-spewing belly laugh that had people looking at me funny. I am one of those unfortunate people who cry when I laugh.  His messages would often result in my having to reapply makeup before I got up from my desk. 

His sense of humor sustained him through a lot at the end. I still chuckle remembering a recent conversation in his kitchen that caught both of us off guard and ended up with me wiping tears and him sounding that signature laugh of his that was the sound of pure delight.

My friend understood a great deal about me from a personal standpoint as well, and was very intuitive about some things in my life. He was someone I could talk to about absolutely anything.  And if he didn’t understand, he would admit it, but never discourage me from sharing my heart with him. About a week before he passed away, on one of our daily calls, I was sharing something with him that happened that day. Even in all of his pain and discomfort he asked, “But are you okay? Did this hurt your feelings? Can I help?” 

He made me feel that I mattered. He saw both the good and bad in me, but taught me to focus on the good, because he believed my good outweighs my bad. I believe he was the first friend I’ve ever had who taught me to believe that about myself. 

His friendship over the past 6 years has made me feel secure. He could do most anything, and was one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever known.  I can’t count the number of times when I would be late calling him or responding to an email and he would pick up the phone and call me to check on me.  

I wasn’t special- he was like that for all of his friends.  And yet, it seemed to take him by surprise by how much he was cared for by all of us.

A couple of weeks before he passed away I tried very hard to convey how special a friend he was to me, how much he meant to me, how very much I was going to miss him.  I hope my words were clear. I think he understood. We were both a little teary. 

My prayer for my friend over the past 19 months has been that God would spare his life until he could be assured of his salvation. I prayed this so hard that sometimes the urgency of it would wake me up in the middle of the night.  Eleven days before he passed away, my friend shared his heart with me about his faith. It was new and fresh, and maybe he didn’t understand it completely, but God had given Him that seed of faith that has already flourished into sight.  

My friend had a such a humble servant’s heart. He served his country in the Army. He served his family. He served his friends. And now he is serving in God’s everlasting Kingdom. No doubt organizing stuff with a label maker that will never run out of tape.

My friend, I’m thankful your suffering is over, and that of all the roads you’ve traveled, you’ve finally made it Home.  I’m thankful for your friendship, though six years was just not enough. I’m thankful for all your “quests” on your “trusty steed” that has filled my shed with way more mason jars than I need.  Over the past year, many of your treasures have made their way into my home, and I’m so thankful to have these reminders of you that I can touch and take care of and remember.  But the greatest treasure you gave me was the treasure of your friendship. Thank you. My life was blessed because of you. I’ll talk to you later. 

10 responses to “I Had A Friend”

  1. I know exactly who you have written this tribute about. I loved this guy and thought often about his salvation as he neared his journey’s end this side of heaven. I wish I was a better friend by staying involved instead of focusing on my small circle. I’m glad he did keep in touch with you and other co-worker friends who were able to be with him as he trod the road towards home.


  2. Chrissie-He has been my friend and brother for 52 years. I am still coming to grips that i couldn’t visit him before he passed. Your words ring truth and bring me solace. Thank you.


    • Bless you, Pam. It’s always hard to lose someone you’re so close to. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  3. He would have ben 62 today!!! Way too young but obviously God had other plans. Steve and I want to thank you so very much for being such a tremendous friend to him. I know he appreciated your friendship since he talked about you often. Glad we had the opportunity to meet you right before his passing. You have truly done so much for so many! Blessings, Chris


    • Thank you for your kind words, Chris. I have been missing my friend today on his birthday, and keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. As much as I know we all miss him, I’m comforted to know that we’ll see him again one day.


  4. The love of my life, whom I married 17 yrs ago today will soon join Patrick in Heaven. In a heartbreaking irony I will sign Peter’s marriage certificate to God at the same time we took the pledge “til death parts us.” My heart is utterly broken to lose these 2 wonderful men 2 months apart.


    • Pam, I’m so very sorry for the depth of this season of loss you are experiencing. I will keep you in my prayers during this time that God will give you His perfect comfort and peace.


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