Goodbye to a Friend

'silhouette' photo (c) 2005, Stefano Mortellaro - license: to a Friend

I said goodbye to a friend today.
He lay in front of a room of friends.
Draped over the front of his casket, two baseball jerseys — Reds and Yankees,
And his favorite coffee cup sat upon his Bible next to them.
A deck of cards had been placed near his hands,
Recalling evenings of euchre and laughter.
That smile was captured in photographs set near his now silent, serious visage.
A church songbook was propped there too,
Testifying to the power of grace to change a shy man
Into one that led the congregation in singing their faith.
His daughter spoke the truth in her tribute —
He never met a person who did not become a friend.
And I was one.
Sent to serve him, I was served.
Welcomed to the table, we talked about our love for baseball,
Our families, our friends, our faith.
I prayed for him,
And unlike most I visit, he insisted on praying for me.
He could not get over it,
That someone would take the time to visit him.
I tell you, his house held visitors all the day long.
Why would we not come?
Where there was welcome, and pleasant talk.
Where there was gentle kindness, and wisdom.
Where there was gratitude, and a smile.
Where there was friendship.

And where now shall we go?

8 thoughts on “Goodbye to a Friend

  1. CM-

    I’m sorry for the loss to you and the others that knew him. What a crazy, non-sense world we live in where everything falls apart and everyone goes away in the end. I’m glad for the hope we have..


  2. Yes, I would like to be remembered just like your friend. I think you, Chaplain Mike, were his friend because as we used to say “birds of a feather flock together”. You are (methinks) just like him. It is a pleasure to “know” you at a distance and always being reminded of “the power of grace to change….”. Your words always are undergirded with grace and hope…those precious commodities that move us to pray and trust.


  3. And where now shall we go?

    Somewhere where we can tell stories of two of our friends to others.

    One friend I suspect I can identify, but will remain silent; the other one is my friend, (and quite obviously yours as well) Jesus. The most important thing for friends to do is to remember our friends of days gone by, and in remembering them and telling their stories introduce them to others.

    On my roll of ‘proxy’ friends: Phillip P. Bliss, H. G. Spafford, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, George Mueller …
    On my growing roll of friends who live only in stories told of them: Jim F. who introduced me to his friend Jesus and wouldn’t let me just stand at the door.


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