I met a remarkable man today following the weekly international student ministries gathering. He’s a fifty or sixty-something from Michigan who has been serving for over fifteen years as a missionary of sorts, spreading the word and helping to mentor students through group and individual discussions. He lived for a while in Florida where he worked in law enforcement, and somewhere along the line of duty he became fascinated with politics.
He has gone on missions to central America in the past and this most recent return home has been his longest this year, a whole three and a half weeks so far. He intends to travel back to central America in February, circumstances permitting.
He has traveled across much of the United States and is considering picking up an RV to allow him a home away from home. I was going to ask if his wife minded his constantly traveling, but I never did for fear that I might be overstepping myself – he told me later that there was infidelity in his marriage on his wife’s part. The words stumbled out.
He has a daughter and a granddaughter who visit him from time to time. He underwent a liver transplant eight years ago. He was undergoing surgery for something at one point in time when he began hemorrhaging. He bled out and recounted to me the experience of feeling himself dying, his heartbeat growing dull and muffled. He told me how blessed he feels to be able to walk this earth now and to go on touching the lives of high school and college students. He and I shook hands and went our separate ways – he still has to finish building his granddaughter’s clubhouse and he tells me that there are only a few pieces of wood left to go.
It feels so easy for me to talk about someone else. I sat on the concrete steps of the Wesley Foundation with him for an hour, hearing his story and relating pieces of my own. There is so much to be learned from others, regardless of what walk of life they come from. He is a blessed man, and I am grateful to have met him.
I love life.