A Short Conversation
He was in his twenties, late twenties. He had been sick for a long time, an emotional illness that forced him to stay awake for days and nights, walking the streets, rushing, not caring if he ate or drank. At other times he would crash on his bed and sleep for days and nights, unable to get up or do anything but lie there. Sometimes he would listen to radio, sometimes he would eat, sometimes he would have a friend or two. Most abused his condition, some remained friends, for he was very kind, loving and caring. It was his disease that made him so very vulnerable.
Yes, he had been raised in the church. We would go for years to the Sunday service, the Sunday night service and the Wednesday night service. Yes, one Sunday morning he said it was too hard to stay in Sunday school because a girl kept teasing him. I knew the girl was the daughter of a couple who were leaders in the church. Yes, I knew the Sunday school teacher would not chastise her because of that. Yes, I also knew that my son had tolerated as much of this abuse as he could. He would never complain. When he did, he had good reason to. Yes, I told him he did not have to go there any more.
Through his teens and early twenties, he lived an extremely challenged life. I as a mom felt his pain day and night, but his own pain must have been much greater than mine. Yes, he had issues with the faith thing, he, who always had tried to do the right thing, sacrificing his own needs for others. He loved to song and play the guitar and piano. He would sing any time, anywhere. He did not care if someone took his melodies or did not appreciate his music. He sang and played because it came from his heart, his soul. Things and places were not important to him. People were. He loved people and was the least judgmental person I ever know.
When he saw a sick person sitting on the sidewalk muttering, he would stop and try to listen to what was said. He always listened to the different drummer. He never read music, but played the piano so that people would stop, even workmen walking home from work, and one of them came to the apartment and asked in broken English if my son would teach him how to play.
One day he came to my room and asked if the bad things he had said to God (when his sickness was at its worst) were the 'unforgivable sins' the Bible talks about. I told him that I had heard what he said and I loved him so much that I forgave him his rants against God. I told him that if I, as his mom, could forgive him, surely God could, too. He listened and did not say anything.
A year or so before he died at age 33, he began going to various churches in an area he had moved to. Then, in the last months, he would be walking with a Bible in his hand and check out each church in a new area where the people he lived with had moved to. During the memorial service they did in his honor, many of the congregation told me and his brother and sister, what a blessing he had been to the church. Each person gave an amazing testimony of how he had blessed them with his music and his honesty and how their lives had been uplifted from knowing him.
These church people did not know me or his siblings, but they stayed with us through the nights we were in the hospital and continued in prayers. They gave us a large check (even though this was a very poor little fishing village) to cover much of his burial expenses. I do believe that my comment about forgiveness may have made a small difference. But above all, I believe that God had pity on him and in his mercy gave my son a victorious life in spite of all the heavy challenges.
It has been years now, but his example and his suffering make my life so much richer and my priorities so much clearer. I am still mourning the loss but my eyes are always upward, to the blue sky that reflects the blue of his eyes, and know that he is singing and playing music up there with the other angels.