A few days ago, I talked with a dear old friend.
James played guitar and other instruments with me on the road for 10 years. They were some of the best musical days of my career. Every night, he added so much to the evening. People would come up after the concert and ask all kinds of questions about “how did all of that music come from two people?”
James was tender and gentle. Always gracious and kind.
I’ve lost count of how many years ago we stopped traveling and playing together. But it’s been, probably, another ten years. I tried to stay in touch, called every long once in a while to a phone that I thought was his home, but got no answer. I let it go. We’ve both move far, far along.
But the other night, I got a voicemail and it was James. His voice was the same gentle voice I’d known all those years. He said he was sorry that he’d not been more in touch, that he was sorry to hear of the struggles and troubles of my past 5 years, etc.
I called him the next day because in his message, he mentioned that he was facing some “stuff” of his own. Of course, the mind takes over and starts to write an imaginary script of all the worst things you can think of….illness, failed marriage, death of a family member, accidents, whatever.
His wife answered the phone so that was a good sign and, for the moment, eliminated one looming question. She put him on the phone and we talked for 10 or 15 minutes.
After exchanging pleasantries and apologies for not being more in touch, he asked questions that I answered, followed by mutual expressions of our collective appreciation for fresh definitions of old words. Words like grace and mercy. While “God is good” can, sometimes, come off trite and flippant, it certainly didn’t in the course of this conversation with James.
James told me (and I don’t think he’ll mind me telling you . . . he’s asked for prayer from everyone. Please do!) that he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma three or four weeks ago. He thinks the prognosis is good and that there’s a good chance they’ll be able to beat it.
My breathing stopped for a moment.
This isn’t the first phone conversation I’ve had like this. But you’re never prepared and it’s never easy to know how to respond.
And I find, even as I write these words, I have little if anything, profound or exceptionally spiritual to say. I’m just a little deflated and tired of what happens to this body.
I’ve felt bad this whole year. But my stuff is minor compared to this. My stuff is done and fixed and I’m thankful every moment of every single day.
I’m concerned for James and praying for James and his wife. But as in all things, I know and am more convinced than ever that we just don’t know everything that God is up to.
He is a Mystery and will always be. Faith requires that we trust what we cannot see or understand. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be faith at all.
Whatever you’re facing today. Trust God with the unknown and the unknowable. Smile in the face of Mystery and enjoy the fact that so much of all of this is out of our hands – and safely in the Palm of His.
October 7, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Posted by Wayne Watson at 10:04 AM