Friday, April 18, 2014
While I'm a Yankees fan by birth and formative NYC years with Grandma Helen and Grandpa Jacob Kopp on Grove Street in Queens, I wish they'd never named the disease after Lou Gehrig.
My first introduction to it was many years ago with a brave man named Keith in Kansas City.
The mind stays sharp...as everything else goes to...
While I think I've matured in Him since then, I recall ALS tempted me to Deism.
I've often said I go through life without a helmet because it's nobody else's business, encourages my enemies, and witnesses to my trust in eternal life through Jesus,
Buuuuuuut if I were diagnosed with it, I just don't know...
So when Jim's wife called me, said he had it, and asked if I would come to visit him, I hesitated because...
They're not members of our family of faith at First.
They heard me at a funeral years before; and Donna said, "Jim liked what you had to say and how you said it. I think he would listen to you. I think you can help him...now."
Well, I didn't get into this business for the inane clergy/denominational meetings or satiating hyper-selfish-sensitivities or enabling idolatries or wasting time on...
You know what I mean; and if you don't, ain't no way for me to...
I was called to undershepherding under the Good Shepherd to announce the permanent peace that comes in paradise through Jesus and how that knowledge/belief/experience enables confident living or "strong calm sanity" (Oswald Chambers) in the meantimes.
I was called to urge people who get that/Him to show some gratitude for it all by loving Him back by loving like Jesus by the book.
So despite my personal aversions and previous disconcertings to/about it, I went to see Jim.
I've been visiting him every Thursday for the past six months or so; and I will keep visiting him until he goes home to Jesus.
Last Thursday (Maundy Thursday) was seminal.
As I arrived, Donna told me that Jim was slipping, weakening, and that the nurse said...
As Donna sat and listened and Jim could hardly talk, I reminded them of what we shared at the table of Holy Communion the previous Thursday.
Then after telling him how much I've thanked God for the privilege of getting to know and love him, I made a confession to Jim in front of Donna that I've never made before and kept in the privacy of my heart.
Our eyes locked without blinking throughout the confession.
His presence was thick and heavy and...calming.
I shared my deepest confession with him.
We bathed in belief.
I love you, Jim.
I've wanted to tell something to you for a long time now; and only now, as I know you're getting close to traveling home, do I feel...
Jim, I'm not a bullshitter. That has attracted many people to Jesus through me; and, yes, it has caused a lot of bullshitting religious people to leave churches that I've served. I just let my yes be yes and no be no and believe you're gonna catch it anyway; so you may as well catch it for Christ's sake.
So here goes.
Jim, I know you've loved this life. I do too. I know you'd like more time. Me too.
But I want you to know I kinda envy you. I mean I'm tired of the bullshit in our world, country, and churches. I'm tired of people who live to make life so miserable for everybody. I'm tired of babysitting people who can't differentiate the important from the incidental. I'm tired, as Margery Williams wrote, of people who break easily or who have sharp edges or who have to be sooooooo carefully kept. I'm tired of the bullshit. Even in my...
You're going home to be with Jesus...paradise...the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no more crying or pain or disease or...
You're going to see Him and know everything and know everything turns out well and smile at our silliness, stupidities, and...
I'm ready to join you; but I guess, because of moments like these, I can't join you just yet.
I'm like Paul.
I'd rather be with Jesus; but I guess He won't call me back home because I've gotta help folks cut through the bullshit to get it/Him.
But I want you to know, Jim, I really, really, really wish I could join you.
I really, really, really believe in Jesus and what He's got for you...real soon.
I'm kinda envious.
Do you understand what I'm trying to say to you?
His eyes are fixed in my hard drive; and I will click it/him/Him on as...
Oh, how I wish everyone knew what Jim and Donna and I experienced last Maundy Thursday as the bullshit was washed away by the gospel rivers of living water...
I guess that's why, for people like me who'd rather be with Jesus, the roll up yonder hasn't been...
Blessings and Love!