Friendship, Faith, and Death (Me and Dave at the Toilet Seat Museum

The Sovereign Lord is truly amazing–he put’s things together all around us, all the time, for his great reasons.

Maybe 6 or 7 years ago, he brought a new friend into my life. Now this guy had been in my church for a few years already, but he and I were just too different and never really hit it off.

But in a moment of crisis, David came to talk to me. He needed just work through some problems and well, slowly, a very close and unique friendship was born.

A couple of months ago, I was at his funeral. I shared with his very sweet daughter that my very close friendship with her dad was something our God had arranged. In our short time together, David and I flew to visit sick people, went to museums, played games, worshipped, and spent hours on the phone.

David called me one day to tell me he had cancer. We walked through treatments and surgery together, we talked about death–a lot. David like to make jokes about dying–and it was something of a surreal experience for me.

I loved this guy, but it was evident that our friendship was time limited.

A friendship with an expiration date?

At least on this earth.

His treatments seemed to work for a while but the cancer came back with a vengeance, and in a way that would never go away. It became a question of when the cancer would kill him instead of if.

One day, after Dave had moved to be closer to family, he called me up and asked, “Hey, will you be a pallbearer at my funeral.”

“Sure Dave,” I said, “as long as you will be one at mine.”

“Wait, I’m the one who’s dying here!” he chided.

I said, “Well Dave, we’re all dying, you just seem to be better at it for the moment. I could die first you know.”

He got quiet, laughed, and said, “I don’t know if most people talk about this the way we do, but we all should.”

There was a part of my heart that really struggled with my time-limited friend. It sort of hurt to think of calling him when I wouldn’t be able to in a fairly short period of time.

But I did go visit him one time when he was in the middle of some intense experimental treatments. It wasn’t clear how much longer he would be around, so I just wanted to spend time with him and his sweet wife Sandi. When they picked me up, he asked me what I wanted to do (in the Dallas, Texas area) and I told him I just wanted to be with him and there was no need for us to run around and tire him out.

“There’s a Toilet Seat Museum not far away,” Dave said with a mischievous smile.

“Let’s do it!” I laughed.

And we did.

We had a great time that day. The Toilet Seat Museum (In The Colony, Tx) was great (“Not crappy” as they say in the museum). We also toured the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium (totally amazing place) and Nebraska Furniture Mart (Wow, is all I can say) and Dave was thoroughly worn out.

A God-arranged, time-limited, and very precious friendship. Sharing life and the process of dying with someone–as the writer of Ecclesiastes noted:

“It is better to go to the house of morning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of heart the face is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” (Eccl. 6:2-4)

Sharing life and love when you know the life of one of you is short is a precious thing, but even if you are not currently walking with a friend through some fatal disease, just know this:

You are…

As I told Dave that day regarding being his pallbearer–we are all destined to die unless our Lord returns first.

We would do well to live with that in mind.

We should treat all of our friends and our enemies with grace, mercy, and kindness–because we do not know if the opposite way of treating people (lacking grace, no mercy, and harshness) that we will ever have a chance to show them love again.

They may die.

We may die.

You may need a pallbearer.

They might too.

Or perhaps just a friend to go to the Toilet Seat Museum with. And laugh even when the clock is ticking loudly…

Choose grace, mercy, and love. Every day, every way, and speak love while you can.

Shalom to you and your friends.


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