My Friend John
I would like to tell you about my friend John. John was a husband, a father, a Christian, a fireman, my friend and so much more. Happily married with two young children, a boy and a girl; some of John’s biggest passions were God, family, his church and surprisingly, his job and co-workers.
In my experience, it’s rare to meet someone who truly loves their job; but John did. John was a fireman and he loved everything about being a fireman. John also had the love and respect of everyone he worked with.
I first contacted John at the request of the leader of our church’s Stephen Ministry program. John and I attended the same church, and John requested a Stephen Minister. Stephen Ministry is a Christian counseling program for individuals experiencing a life crisis. At that point I had been a Stephen Minister for a little over a year; but John needed a Stephen Minister; John was having a life crisis. John was 32 years old, and he had brain cancer.
When I was “assigned” to John, he was preparing for brain surgery, and naturally he was very apprehensive. My Stephen’s Leader said that John needed someone to talk to about his fears and to let him know that if he wanted to talk, I was there for him. I too was apprehensive. This was only my second assignment, and my first was counseling a young man with marital troubles.
My first conversation with John lasted about 30 minutes. I ended our talk that night ensuring him that I would pray for him. This seemed to bring great calm to John. I didn’t know it at the time, but John and God had a special relationship; one which I would learn more about later, but would never fully understand.
I was nervous about meeting John for the first time. He was in hospital, having just going through brain surgery. If you were to ask my wife what I was nervous about she’d tell you I hate hospitals. The fact I was going to visit a complete stranger, who is wired to a bunch of monitors and had tubes running out of him was to say the least, noteworthy and a sign of things to come.
At this point I should tell you that when my first son was born, I was going to be in the delivery room. I wasn’t. Felt sick and the doctors didn’t want two patients to worry about. When my second/current wife had a hysterectomy just 4 years into our marriage, I skipped town and went to visit my sons in Minnesota.
So for me to walk into a hospital room and strike up a conversation with a stranger who was hooked up to all that equipment was nothing short of miraculous.
In Part 2 I will start with my first meeting with John.
Miss ya John Boy