I knew he had been ill. But there was a level of secrecy about it. Suggesting it must be serious.
He has cancer. I just discovered this days ago.
He’s a “professional” friend. I met him through my husband. We see each other only occasionally. Mostly at professional functions gathering people nationwide. We live almost 1,000 miles apart.
I last saw him two years ago. He’s battled cancer for 18 months. At our dinner several days ago, the Mystery Illness was named.
You had burdened my heart earlier that day, Lord. With a burning question. No, a burning prayer.
How do I tell him about You?
He’s an intellectual. Not (yet) a person of Faith. He knows I am. Over time, You’ve opened doors for me to bear witness to this in our shared conversations. Doors he closed quickly, albeit politely.
A picture really does “paint” 1,000 words. So does the human face. Our nonverbals can instantly communicate myriad emotions… can’t they, Lord?
Love. Joy. Respect. Curiosity. Indifference. Irritation. Denial. Offense. Hatred.
“A tree is recognized by its fruit… For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:33-34)
Although the power of nonverbals hasn’t been indisputably quantified, the mouth/face speaks powerfully even when no words emerge. Amen? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_communication
For many years, his face spoke volumes. He was not open to talking about You. Still, the burden came. Because of the Mystery Illness? I couldn’t help but wonder:
“What if this is my last chance to tell him about You, Lord?”
Your answer came. Like a refreshing breeze on a sweltering day.
This friend wrote his personal memoir a few years ago. He gave us a copy. I read it first… uncovering a more personal, precious glimpse of him than I’d gained in all the cocktail parties that came before. I told him so, when I read it years ago.
“Tell him again,” You said, “and offer him yours.”
We had a wonderful dinner. He shared some of his battle with us. Making a lot of eye contact with me. Surprisingly. Because he knows I, too, traveled the Valley of Cancer?
The evening was ending. You said, “Now.” So I told him again how much I appreciated his memoir. Especially the glimpse it gave me into him. I could tell he was touched… grateful.
I said I understood, in my own way, what a Big Deal it is to put yourself “out there” on paper. Such vulnerability takes courage. He nodded, knowingly.
I said I’d done the same last year. Published my memoir. If he was interested, I would gladly give him a copy. His face lit up, welcoming this invitation.
Victory in The Valley. Your Story, Lord, in my life. Pulled out of my purse. Placed into his hands. Signed “With Hope and Love.”
Speak to him through every page, Lord! Like I never could. He needs more than a professional friend. Especially now.
He needs You. He always has. Maybe now, he’s ready.