The first time I met him, I was intimidated. The interview process was not hard, but I was young, and just trying to get through school. I remember he sat across from me at the large conference room table, questioning my faith and trying to find out what I could do to benefit the agency he so passionately believed in. With both of them staring at me behind their shiny glasses, with pen and paper in hand, I knew that I just had to get through this so I could graduate. I was excited to have found an internship that actually paid me! Gosh, that was a long time ago. 12 years ago to be exact. Little did I know, I would gain and value more than just a pay check and diploma.
The days grew into weeks, and we immediately connected. You know those people that you meet and instantly your souls connect? Yea, he was one of those. A soul mate. Every Wednesday morning, we would take turns getting each other breakfast. I didn’t drink coffee yet back then, but he did. He drank his coffee black. I would bring him his favorite: a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit from Hardee’s. He would pray over our breakfast, pray over our day, and chit chat about life.
Working in a faith-based substance abuse facility at the age of 21 was not the easiest, but he made it easier. Everyday, I would plop myself down in his office with so many questions about God, faith, boyfriends, and school. He would ever so intently listen, as if he was truly interested, and treated me not only as if I was his own child, but as a friend.
I remember for my birthday, he bought me the most beautiful matching bracelet and watch made of white and yellow gold twisted together in a way. It was probably the fanciest piece of jewelry I’d ever owned. I wore those proudly every single day. I still have them and will always treasure them. He made me feel special. For Christmas, he bought me a beautiful crystal clock- small enough for a desk. I still have it to this day in my living room. I remember the coconut cake his wife made me for my birthday (I HATE coconut!)
But, the most precious gift he gave me, was the gift of leading me to surrendering my life to Christ. We taught classes together and part of our curriculum was to help those struggling with addictions break the cycle, and be delivered by the power of God. I remember feeling something one particular day that I had never felt before- it’s called the Holy Spirit. He began to pray as he walked around the room. And, I don’t mean just muster a few words, but PRAY. Every person in that room was on their knees in prayer. This man was a true warrior for God. This man walked the walk and talked the talk. This man lived each minute of everyday for the glory of Christ.
He brought me to church, taught me how to worship, and taught me how to pray. He shared scripture with me, and let me into the vulnerable part of himself as soul mates do. He invited me into his home as a part of his family. He even tried to set me up with one of his sons! (haha). I only wish I had enough words to put on this page to explain how much he means to me.
As I left this agency, I never lost touch with him. But, I kept getting older, and so did he. 12 years older to be exact. Time goes by, and life goes on. It’s shorter than we ever know.
On September 28, 2018, I found out that my beloved DG (my nickname for him) was in the hospital. I knew he had been in the hospital earlier this year. I messaged him this day, but he did not respond. I contacted one of his sons (he had 3), and asked him how his father was doing. He responded to tell me that his father was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis (a hardening of the lungs) and was not doing well. My heart sank.
The very next day (9/29), I drove two hours to see him in the hospital. As I walked in the room, I was greeted by his beautiful granddaughter. As I looked at my beloved friend, my heart immediately broke. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t even breathe on his own. It’s like I could literally feel him slipping away. My soul could hear him saying “Father, please take me home.” The tears poured, and poured, and poured. He managed to open up his eyes and smile at me. I grabbed his hand and told him how much he meant to me. I told him that I know how much he prayed for me the last 12 years and it was time to let me pray for him. I told him that he was the best person I’ve ever known. He smiled and nodded.
As I sat next to him and his wife, I could see him struggling to breathe. His wife would gently put a wet sponge in his mouth for moisture. I knew I couldn’t stay long. As I stood up and grabbed his hand one more time, I told him how much I love him and said “I’ll see you later, DG”. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. As I was leaving, I heard him whisper with all his strength, “thank you for coming.”
The next day, on September 30, 2018, at 9:30 am, my beloved friend met Jesus. The one thing I am 100% certain of, is he is at the feet of God, worshiping with the angels. The one thing I am certain of, is he heard “well done, my good and faithful servant.” The one thing I’m certain of, is his legacy will live on in the lives of so many people.
I thank the Lord for sending me that day to say good-bye. I don’t know if I could have lived with myself had I not. I was one of the last people he saw. I can’t wait to worship our Lord Jesus Christ one day with him in paradise. As I cry for the loss of my soul friend, I cry out of joy that he is completely healed and exactly where he always wanted to be. He fought the good fight. He won the race. He literally spoke of Jesus until his very last breath. Thank you, Father, for putting this man in my life at the exact right moment, for the exact right amount of time. Thank you, Lord, for his prayers, his service to you, and for simply putting him on this earth.
I love you, my beloved DG. I will see you again!