Charlie

A number of years ago, I had a gentleman do the proverbial “pop in” to my shop. I own my business and work strictly by appointment. Typically I approach the “pop in” with disdain, as I’m interrupted from things that require concentration and focus. For some reason I wasn’t too upset when Bob showed up. We spoke at length and I spent more time than I had at my disposal with him. Bob became a great customer to me. Bob also became what I’d call a friend, and maybe even a confidante.

Not long into our business relationship we began sharing about ourselves. Over the last few years Bob was kind enough to share bits and pieces about his grandson, Charlie, who had been attacked by an ultra rare brain cancer. Charlie’s condition was terminal.

Over our meetings back and forth we’d share and visit about Charlie and I’d learn of how over his 3 year illness he never once had gotten angry or lashed out. I listened to Bob relay stories of Charlie’s rock solid faith and the many examples of how he helped others deal with his ailments.

I couldn’t help but get the sense that Charlie was the rock for the family as they all pitched in to help. And when I say “help” what I mean to say is “do it all.” From what I could glean, the family kept him home. No facilities, no places other than visits to the hospitals and doctors. Charlie stayed at home and his mother quit her job to tend to his needs in shifts with Charlie’s father.

It came across to me as the family as a whole had taken on a cumulative life. Charlie was occupying the mind and spirit of this family, as the supporters helped bridge the gap his body couldn’t. Stories of a stressed mother, that chomped grandma one day, only to have Charlie be the person to suggest, “Mom, you need to call Grandma up and apologize.” were common from Bob.

Charlie rated high enough by his intellect and actions that his primary oncologist drove two and half hours one way just to pay him a personal visit. That’s rare.

I often ask myself if stories like this should be shared. We all know they can, but we don’t always know if they should. I often wonder if I’m supposed to write so that I may tell a story or convey a sentiment that makes a difference for someone else. My prayer is I’m guided to make the most of the resources God has granted me. My hope is I’m not too blind to see what is being laid before me. My struggle is knowing what paths should be chosen and how far to follow them.

Maybe Charlie has an idea about that now that he’s with the Lord. If he does, I’d love to be let in on the secret. 😉 But that isn’t the way this typically works. For now, I’ll concentrate on becoming more biblically literate, labor under the desire to become more visible as Christian, and lead my family in both.

I hadn’t written in a while for this blog, but Bob just stopped through and when I asked how Charlie was doing, Bob shared the circumstances of his passing, the final weeks before, and the circumstances since. The creation of this blog is testament to those experiences. Bob is a pretty tough ol’ bird, but he’s torn up over this. And I think I can understand that with a large degree of personal relate.

Lord look over their family and help them with peace and understanding. …Even if that understanding leads to the acceptance of not understanding. I have no doubt Charlie walks among you and your Son, free of sickness and cold. May Charlie’s family embrace healthy habits now that their full time job of caring for their boy has left a tremendous void in their lives with his journey to You. Through Christ our Lord, Amen…

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