Three days ago I lost an old friend that had been part of my life for 70+ years. He had accompanied me everywhere I went, running up and down basketball courts in high school and college. He was loyal never complaining. The same was true on the baseball field. Even after my early years when I entered midlife and decided to become a ‘runner’, at 5:30 in the morning my friend and I were out in the early morning air enjoying a three – five mile run. We became such close friends we actually ran in some 5K races. Wherever I went he was always with me supporting me and “making it happen.”
On that fateful day, accompanied by my wife June, we drove to Athens, Georgia to Saint Mary’s hospital to lay my friend to rest. As we entered the hospital we were greeted by a ‘team’ of professionals whose task was to make this as pleasant as possible. It was evident they subscribed to the text: ‘Laughter is the best medicine,” because everyone but me seem to be cheerful and happy. We hardly had time to sit in the receiving area of one of the team’s office when a ‘knock’ came at the door. Upon opening the door Sister Clarice wanted to know if she could pray with me. “Pray with me!” “Is she for real”. In this age of pluralism and diversity this lady wanted to pray with me. I almost broke out singing the Hallelujah chorus. It was apparent June realized I was having a “moment of exhortation” and pinched me on the leg.
The second lady on the team was assigned to June to stay with her and walk her through this ‘difficult’ process. It was her role to keep June informed as to where I was and “how things were going.” I was assigned a number and off I went leaving the team in the room. “Assigned a number??????” I was fifth on the runway……………………………………
In preparation for departing with my friend, an anesthesiologist, who looked young enough to be in middle school, indicated I would be having an epidural in my spine which would relieve any pain and put me in the twilight zone. In our conversation she indicated the physician had eight of these surgeries that morning. I voiced a silent prayer thanking God that I was not eighth. By chance I learned the anesthesiologist was taking golf lessons and we immediately began a conversation concerning the game of golf………..after we finished the importance of the circular swing with the driver I was back in my room. “what happened”……..I could hear the music from the twilight zone.
The next day, a nice young man, with an appearance of an adolescent, arrived in my room dressed in blue with Physical Therapy written across his shirt. Immediately I noticed his unusual smile. Attilla the Hun was going to go for a walk with me. In a voice not reaping in ‘honey’ I reminded him I had just had surgery and the last thing I wanted to do was go for a walk. The smile only widened. Surely not!! In short order I surmised this young man received his training at Parris Island with the marines.
Today I arrived back home with explicit orders to indulge myself with as much pain as I could endure. I miss my old friend-the knee. There still remains one unusual behavior I cannot explain; when we drove into our driveway and pushed the garage door opener my leg went up.
Takes us places
We never expected to go
And in those places
God writes a story
We never thought would be ours.