Friday, April 24, 2009
Joe and I were best of friends in high school. We lived across the street from each other. Every afternoon after school our ritual was to walk the three blocks to the drug store in Alamo to get a fountain cherry coke. When we got back home, there were things like baseball, or ham radio, or ping pong in the church fellowship hall. We were inseparable friends. Everyone needs someone like Joe while growing up. Joe left Alamo a year behind me, went to Georgia Tech, got married, was diagnosed with cancer, and was gone far too soon.
Joe is the first friend I lost to cancer. Unfortunately, there have been others after him. On this day when "Relay for Life" is taking place in many communities, I found myself remembering Joe, his courage, his faith, and his determination to live his life as fully as he possibly could. Over the years I have been with so many who have struggled as Joe struggled long years ago. Some like my high school friend died far too soon while others still walk in our midst as sufferers and survivors.
Today I simply wanted to honor this friend from so long ago by calling his name as a way of declaring him not forgotten. And I also find myself wanting to pray for the many I know who still struggle, who still hope, and who still pray for God's healing. "Father God, never have I understood why some things happen the way they do. I am grateful Joe had a place ready for him in heaven when he needed it. And I pray for those sufferers and survivors who are here with us and I ask in Your Son's name that eqch one might know the divine blessings of spiritual wholeness and physical healing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayers. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. Amen."