I almost turned around and went back up north to see Ron again yesterday. I got to thinking about what I wrote about in yesterday’s Catch — how I went there for myself, to renew the blessing I received from him years ago — that maybe I need to go again, focused on him this time, and his family and their needs. Ron is such a big person in so many people’s lives that I can imagine everyone going to see him hoping for one last touch from him. I think we may need to also focus on giving that last touch instead of just receiving it. Besides, of all people, I should know that whatever I’ve received from Ron is not coming from him anyway, it’s coming from the Lord in and through him, and the Lord doesn’t need Ron to bring it. How many times have we said it recently: Everything from God; nothing from us. God is not dependent on any one of us. He can use anyone. And Ron would be the first one to tell us this.
Now that I think about it, everyone in the immediate family seemed to be doing so well, and it’s true, when you are being held up by your faith, there is real strength. But sooner or later, everyone’s going to find out what it’s going to be like without him, and for someone who took up as big a space in life as Ron did, that’s not going to be easy. I’m sad to report that I just assumed they were all okay and I never asked. We need to be there for those who are left behind. It’s like Ron gets a personal rapture and the rest of us get left behind.
I’m thinking of Larry Norman’s song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” It may be that in death for the believer, the one who is dying is the most ready, and the ones who are left behind are the most challenged. Certainly being left behind is painful regardless of your faith. No matter how much you think you are prepared for it, there is no way you can fully anticipate what it’s like to encounter the body of a loved one who is no longer at home in this “tent.”
We need to be ready. Whether we are facing our own death, the death of a loved one, or the return of Christ, it’s all the same. We need to get ready. It’s easy; just turn to the Lord and you’re ready.
I think Ron gave you a piece of himself, a piece of his heart. Yes, we are all vessels through which God pours His blessings to others. In that sense, it IS all God. Here’s another thought though; if we are made in God’s image why isn’t it possible to for us to give a piece of our heart? I know, when I worked with teens and bikers, I gave them the right to own a piece of my heart. And that piece follows them through the rest of their lives. I know that piece was part of me…because it hurt when I let it go…and still hurts. Before a gig, I would pray that God would break my heart for those He brought to hear me sing. Just like I did for those teens and bikers. And I prayed that I would let it stay broken…for them and all the others who pass through my life. And I know it is…because it hurts.
You gave Ron a piece of your self too. And you will give his family the same.
I don’t think you need to wonder if your visit was for Ron or for yourself. Who says it has to be one or the other? Of course it was beneficial for your to see him, but think of Ron’s situation. He’s dying of cancer and constantly bedridden. Of course it would brighten his day to see an old friend. If his family seemed to be doing well it was perhaps because they were happy to see you too, and they knew it would make Ron happy.
I agree that the sadness won’t set in until after Ron is gone, but if there is a time for every purpose, then this wasn’t a time to mourn, not just yet. It was a time for two friends to enjoy eachothers company. I pray that after Ron is gone, your final visit with him will give you peace and hope.
I have heard about Ron’s dire condition. Can you tell me how he is and the best way I can reach him to leave him a note?