We had an unexpected houseguest last night. A dear friend of ours, who to quote her majesty Queen Elizabeth, has had an “annus horribilius”. He became a widower quite suddenly in the spring, and then was diagnosed with esophageal cancer not very long after. While recovering from an intense surgery – they deflated his lung to get at the cancer – he got an “exotic” lung infection and almost died, not from the cancer but from the recovery.
Yet – here he is, with a clean bill of health from both the infection and the cancer, and is loving life. Even his sense of humor is returning…
I started that post just before Christmas – wanted to be sure that I worded my reflections just right, and here I sit, writing about the same friend, but this time – he has been totally cured from all ails. We are attending his funeral on Saturday this week.
Ken and Darlene were among the first friends we made after we were married. They were in ministry in a neighbouring town, and we loved to have dinners and laughter together. Ken was a master story-teller. You could set in off in any topic, and the stories would just flow. It was a wonderful way to pass an evening together. Ken = guaranteed laughter, and a bright spot, complete with thoughtful reflection in the darkest of situations.
He had planned to visit us before returning to Nova Scotia after New Year’s, but that never happened. We had been trying to reach him over the past month, but with no success. But we thought nothing of it – long stretches of not hearing from Ken was not out of the norm. Until Sunday- a colleague of his called us just after 4pm that afternoon, and told us the story. Ken had not been feeling well, went to the doctor and on Thursday past was readmitted to the hospital, and told he had 2 weeks to live. The cancer he thought he had defeated had returned, and taken over his body.
Saddened, we began to reflect on our dear friend’s life. His love for his wife came second, only to his love for His Saviour. Ken knew and followed Jesus – deeply and passionately. And he lived his life so that he others would want to meet The One that saved him.
Neither Ken or Darlene had time to say goodbye to those they cared about, yet, those of us who were close to both…knew how they felt. And we know exactly where they are now. They are both well and have joined the full-time worshippers in the Throne Room of Heaven. They have both heard the words they prayed they would “Well done”, from Jesus himself.
So, here I sit, pondering priorities yet again, because of Ken. I know that I need to let others know how much I care for them, and am thankful they are in my life. I need to always take the opportunity to tell my beloved just how much I love him. I must never take the easy way out and not have the eternal conversations I need to have. And I must alway strive to be a true reflection of Jesus to others – no matter where I am, or what is going on in my life…