Monday, December 6, 2010
I lost a very dear friend this past weekend....
Many, many years ago, I walked into the lobby of Northside Christian Church; knowing only one person. To say I was afraid would be an understatement! What if I couldn't find Carolyn? What if I couldn't locate my son's class? What if...what if.... I was so desperate that I couldn't NOT go-I had to risk it (no matter what)! Several individuals made an immediate impact and impression on my life, but there was one very special couple that I will be forever grateful for-John and Sharon Baker (pictured above).
I was so hungry to grow in my relationship with the Lord, I was in the Church building every time the doors were open for programming; including weekly Sunday evening worship. I was probably the only person under the age of 50 in attendance each week, but could not get enough of the preaching, fellowship or hope these caring individuals offered me! There was no place else to go that could remotely compare.
EVERY Sunday night, after Church, John Baker would approach me and my son Peter, and invite us to dinner with the "regulars". I LOVED to go for many reasons, first and foremost to spend time with these amazing people. Not only did I love these couples, but they filled a huge void in my life (they were really the only friends I had). They loved me and spent time sharing their lives with me, which at the time, no one else did. And, when there was no way I could pay for our dinner, one of the couples would pay for both Peter and I (if I recall correctly, EVERY SINGLE WEEK)! John and Sharon were one of the couples. And this went on for an extended period of time.
I am truly grateful I approached John a couple of months ago to remind him of our special times and to thank him. I told him it was due to our Sunday night family outings that I remained a member of Northside, which allowed my faith to grow to the level it has. I think about these couples OFTEN - to this day. I never want to forget how it felt to be alone and how much they meant to me. I hope to do the same for others.
John passed away this past Saturday morning. I'm not sad for John - there is NO DOUBT where he is today! He is with his many friends and his Savior, Jesus Christ! I am thrilled he will be there when I get there! But I will certainly miss him until then!
The other reason I am grateful for John is that he was the reason I met my husband, Christopher. John invited me to attend my father-in-law's retirement celebration at the Newport News Shipyard. His wife had to leave town and was unable to accompany him; and he knew how much I loved my father-in-law. When I saw my husband enter the room, I fell in love! The rest, as they say, is history!
My heart is breaking for John's wife and children - I know how much it hurts to lose a loved one and remember the void and pain as if it were yesterday. My prayers will be with them for many days and months ahead.