Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Giant Remembered

So, yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my buddy Jason Weathers' faith becoming sight.  As I remembered Jason, I concluded that nothing I say will more closely capture the feelings in the depth of my soul 7/12/08--or 7/12/13--than this.  This piece was started in the intensive care unit of M.D. Anderson, where I was experiencing my first round of high-dose immunotherapy.  I got word that the time of J's departure might be at hand, and started writing.  Then I got word that he had received what Wayne Watson calls "the ultimate healing," and finished writing.  Don't read this for literary merit, for I am most assuredly NOT a poet.  Rather, read it as a celebration of the impact one man's life on another.  Stephanie had her Dad read this at Jason's funeral, which is one of the highest honors I will ever receive on this earth.

BTW, to my great delight, Jason's beloved Stephanie just celebrated her one-year anniversary with her husband John, another man who lives out Ephesians 5:25 in Steph's life ("loved her & gave himself up for her").  I couldn't be happier, and somehow, I think my buddy Jason has smiled at God's goodness to his sweetie & his three treasured children.  (I saw his youngest last night at a restaurant w/ Stephanie's folks; she's such a precious five-year-old!  I didn't cry, btw.  Well, not until I got back to my car...)

Mike Madaris, 7/12/08, on the coronation of my buddy Jason Weathers

Giants still walk the land occasionally.
I know this, because I knew one once.
Physically strong and imposing
But that’s not the topic here,
For, he was not fearsome
Unless you lined up opposite him
On a football field
Or tried to throw him into a pool against his will.
Those aside, He got along with everybody.
Literally, everybody, as far as I knew.
Calm of demeanor, yet loved to laugh.
Quiet in personality, yet loved hard rock.
Intelligent, but not desiring to flaunt that.
Private, yet the son of a very public man
And later, married into another very public family.
In the midst of all, he was a giant.

The courtship. She was the only one.
They met when her Dad took a job at the giant’s church.
And his Dad’s. And his Granddad’s.
The realizing came quickly to most.
These two were a match.
They realized it too.
The courtship lasted until they finished college.
And he remained a giant.
Always loving, yet always honoring.
Serving. Cherishing. As it was intended to be.
Both of them Role models. Giants.
Who else marries a giant, but another giant after all?

10 years of marriage. A move to FL.
3 children deeply treasured.
One looks like her mother, yet like Dad in temperament.
One looks like his Dad, yet tempered like his mother.
And one too young to answer these questions
Each nurtured. Treasured. Celebrated.
Giants are like that about their offspring.

A servant’s heart.
Toward his lady. Toward his children.
Toward his friends. Toward his Lord.
Church service involved the out of the way
The behind the scenes
The un-glamorous
The invisible.
Sometimes giants stay in the background.
Perhaps that is why so few of us believe in them any more.

The servant heart spilled over into career choice.
Especially poignant to me this week
As I have been greatly served and blessed by multiple nurses
As a patient, the best in that field are wired as servants.
Others-centered. Paycheck almost incidental.
Towering over the rest of us.

The dreadful disease with the nasty prognosis
The treatment nearly as nasty
Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear.
In this case, for others more than self
Beloved wife and treasured children.
Parents. Parents-in-law. Brother. Brother-in-law.
Not wanting to burden others with the battle he fought so well.
The larger men among us worry about us like that.

7 months of desperate fighting.
Interspersed with time spent with family and with lesser mortals.
Like me. At Starbucks. Still dreaming of an earthly future that would never be.
Then the end; rather, the beginning.
What, after all, is a last, horrendous week against 30+ years of a towering-above life?
Faith became sight.
Death & disease forever vanquished.
Ultimate Healing. No more illness, no more treatment, no more pain.
“Well Done, good and faithful servant.” The stuff of dreams.
Thankfully, not of legends.
Hopes and dreams realized.
Sin not only defeated, but now utterly removed.
As has been sung, "I can only imagine." He need not imagine any more.
This makes me smile through tears.
Victory won. Decisively. Forever.
It is well…it is well with his soul.
In that land, there are only giants. Now one more.
And this land seems all the more empty.

Rock on, Jason. See you there in the land of the eternal hello, where leukemia & melanoma are seen only through the eyes of grace-filled providence...and only then understood fully. You are still loved much and missed hard by many of us, Bro. Looking forward to that next cup of coffee & to you showing me around!

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