Then Easter arrived. Easter, the holiest of all Christian holidays. My phone rang very early in the morning – before 4:00, I think. I answered. A familiar voice I couldn’t quite put my finger on said, “Becky”. I said, “Yes. Who is this?” It was a co‐worker of mine ‐ an elderly man who had many health problems. I immediately asked if he was ok. Did he need something? He said, “It’s David. He passed away during the night.” A friend and neighbor heard his water running for hours and when he didn’t respond to knocking on the door, broke in and found him in the shower. Not MY David. We were getting married in three weeks. This has to be a mistake.
What do I do with this? I couldn’t be angry with God – the only One who could carry me through this. Oddly, David and I had talked of what it what be like when we go home. I knew he was in the presence of the Savior he so adored. I would never want to deny him that. I had hoped we would go together – a lot of years in the future. The next several days are a bit of a blur. Should someone you love find themselves in this situation, just be available. Don’t force an agenda. Don’t necessarily say anything. Just pray and be available. My bridesmaid friend became my rock as I was allowed by David’s children to plan his memorial service.
The service was beautiful and honoring. It was a worship service as that was one of David’s most favorite things – spread his huge wingspan and sing to the top of his lungs in worship. After the service, my friends had planned an informal gathering at a nearby park. Outdoors, a beautiful setting to share popsicles (David’s favorite thing) and visit. I was the last one to arrive at the park.
I saw a couple of my friends in a very intent conversation with a big, tatted stranger sitting at one of the picnic tables in the middle of our gathering area. I asked what was going on. I was told this man was very drunk and depressed. They were taking turns speaking with him about Jesus. I have the best friends ever! I had to smile as this would have been a dream setting for David. We were often late to meetings, etc. as we would always stop for stranded motorists. David would sit on the curb with homeless men outside of Walmart and share Jesus then buy them a meal. It was a staple of his personality and calling. I listened for a couple of minutes, then when I heard this man say “Jesus couldn’t love him because of all he had done”, I said “this one’s mine” and asked my friend to step aside. I sat down and shared with this man about the memorial service we had just come from. The man I should be marrying in a couple of weeks had died but had made it his life’s calling to tell people how much Jesus loved them. He would have loved this man in the park. I asked him his name. He said “Michael”. My heart lept! David had been adopted at the age of three. His adoptive parents had named him David as I believe they saw the future man of God that he would become. His birth parents had named him Michael. Oh, my David – you are here! I asked this young, very inebriated man if he knew Jesus. He repeated that Jesus couldn’t possible love him because of all he had done. He said he’d done time in prison. I told him I had done time in prison, another friend there had just been released. A lady with us was on ISP. Jesus loved us all unconditionally. I asked him where he’d done his time – wondering if it was a prison that David had visited doing ministry. God had an even better gift. Michael said Corcoran – in California. My eyes filled with tears as I told Michael that 33 years ago, David had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior as an inmate of Corcoran Prison in California. Coincidence? Not a chance. Michael’s eyes got wide and he said “Lady. You’re kinda freaking me out”. I shared some more. Many others shared, too, throughout the afternoon. Michael didn’t accept Jesus that day but I believe he will as everyone poured into his life. He had enough seeds planted to become a one‐man forest on the day he decides to say “Yes” to Jesus. I want to be present the day that Michael arrives in heaven and David greets him saying “Remember that day in the park when those folks just kept sharing the love of Christ with you? Well, I sent my girl there to do just that. She brought her friends along and they wouldn’t give up on you just like Jesus never gave up on you. Welcome Home!”
Fast forward a couple of months ‐ I’m at my local Laundromat where ministry just happens. In the early hours of Saturday mornings, there are often homeless men there who clean up for the week in the small restroom in the back. I love to start my wash, then drive a few blocks down to McDonald’s and pick up a big bag of breakfast burritos and a tray of coffees and hand them out randomly to whoever is there. This particular morning, I had started my laundry and a homeless man comes in with a shopping cart full of his treasures – a sleeping bag, a tarp a few clothes. . . He gently asks me if I would watch his things while he “showers”. I said I would be happy to. Some time passes, he exits the restroom in clean clothes and wet hair. He thanks me and heads out the door with his cart. A few minutes later I am up front folding my clothes with my back to the front door. No one else is in the Laundromat. I softly hear “Excuse me, Ma’am”. I look around not certain if I’d really heard that. I again hear “Excuse me, Ma’am”. I turn to see the homeless man extending his hand to me saying “this is for you”. In his hand is a perfect long stemmed rose – creamy white pedals on the outside, deep pinkish red on the inside curling over the edge as it unfolds. I teared up and told him these are my favorites. He smiled, said nothing more and quietly left. Oh David! How I miss you! Thank you!
The two things I wish to leave you with are:
Pay attention. God has the most amazing gifts of His love for you. Don’t miss them. Mine came wrapped as a drunken ex‐con in the park – what a blessing – and a homeless man bearing a rose in the Laundromat – inexplicable Joy! God has gifts for you but don’t put Him in a box – be aware of every possibility.
Two – if you doubt, for any reason, the depth, width, height and length of His love for you, we would be honored to pray with you for a deeper understanding and acceptance of the Joy He finds in you, His beautiful daughter.
In His Grace,