Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Broken Dreams, Bear Hugs, & Goodbyes...

My doorbell rang last evening while Bob was away on an errand. I hesitantly turned on the lights to see who was there. And there was our friend, Dave, waving for me to let him in.

Dave came in our lives a few years ago as a client wishing to have his dream home built at the edge of Brown County. He had tons of ideas he wanted to incorporate into his new home...things like a sound proof room for the piano his wife loved to play; gorgeous midnight blue granite tops for the kitchen; fine porcelain tile for most of the house; a large projection TV with all kinds of expensive speakers built in so he would feel like he was on the front lines at the football games he planned on watching; an extra large shower with special rain shower faucets to accommodate his large frame; a hot tub on the patio, just out the door from the great room.

On and on his list went. Some of these things became cost prohibitive and had to be left out. His wife would not be getting the upholstered walls to sound proof her piano room. But for the most part he was able to build the house of his dreams. Bob worked with him, talked with him, and through the months that turned into a couple of years, became his friend. Finally Dave's home with finished & he & his wife moved in.

Dave didn't account for the Brown County hills, the hillside just out his back door, and other contributing circumstances that would affect his TV reception. There was no cable service near him and amazingly, no satellite dish would work. As far as I know, Dave was never able to lounge on his sofa and enjoy the weekend football games that he dreamed about. Instead, he had to satisfy himself by watching movies on his big screen, much to his disappointment.

Dave talked to Bob a lot about all kinds of things...and one Sunday morning he surprised us by coming to our church. He didn't come every Sunday, but he came more than we ever dreamed he would. He was of a different faith than our conservative Holiness church & he was in awe of our services. He loved the singing & listened attentively to the sermons.

Months went by and Bob got a phone call from Dave with not so good news. Sadly, he & his wife had separated & Dave was now back in an apartment. He had moved out of his dream home. We knew he was having problems & he didn't come to church as often, but sometimes would show up, always emotional, giving both Bob & me a big hug.

Then one Sunday he came back with good news! He & his wife were trying to work things out & he had moved back home. The smile was back on his face, yet he was still very emotional. He sporadically came to church, not showing up for a while, leaving us wondering what was going on in his life.

Dave didn't really come to see me last night, but Bob. And since Bob wasn't home, Dave had news to tell me. Dave had been out of work for 3 months but recently had found a new job far away in Rhode Island and he was in the process of moving away. Dave was divorced. And their divorce was just finalized yesterday, the reason he was back in town. His wife was moving to Arizona and their dream home was being bought by a relocation firm. Dave was having to move away from the house that consumed his attention for months on end.

And he had stopped to see us to say goodbye. I quickly called Bob on his cell phone to let Dave give him the news. As he hung up, Dave told Bob, "I'm going to give your wife a hug"...& hug me he did!

You see, Dave is a very large man, probably 6 foot 3 inches or more weighing around 400 pounds! He engulfed me in his arms, tearfully saying goodbye. It was the biggest bear hug I've ever received!

We talked just a few minutes more, Dave saying he would come back to see us when he is in town, and asking me to tell all of his friends at our church the reason he hasn't been there, and that he loves them! At the edge of our family room he paused & quietly said "I love this place". I told him he was always welcome & to come back and he replied "God lives here".

I watched as he trundled to his car & pulled out of our driveway, wondering what was in his future. My mind took me back over the few years that we had known Dave and I wondered why we hadn't done more for him. But we had touched his life, especially Bob. Through his problems, Dave had seen that Jesus could be his friend.

Before he left I did tell him I hoped he could find a good church in Rhode Island. He replied.."oh, I already have! A Swedish one, a Methodist church & I love their people...yah"!

Happy trails, my friend....


Karen Walden said...

Oh, that is sad. Made me cry! I always felt sorry for him. I was so hoping that Bro Shockley could become his friend and help him out spiritually! Who knows, maybe he'll come back to town someday!

Amy Shearer said...

Well, thank you for making me cry so early in the morning!! I remember him - he seemed so nice! How sad about his divorce.

Sheila, that is just one of the crowns you will receive in heaven - what a blessing you and Bob have been to him. What goes unnoticed down here, God sees and that's the most important!

Dorcas said...

Wow! That's so sad!! It sounds like you & your husband have been a big example of Jesus to him. You just never know how we'll make a lasting impression on someone, do you? You are a good writer, Sheila!!

Carol said...

Awww!!! Poor Dave! That is really sweet that he stopped to give you an update and say goodbye. I bet that was SOME bear hug!

Sherry said...

Goodness! I have never met this man in my life so why am I crying? Sometimes it is the little things that touch lives forever.

Tricia Grissom said...

I'm almost in tears - but what a blessing to know that you and Bob have touched this man - he won't forget that.

Lady J said...

This story reminds me of a presentation my sister gave recently at a ladies retreat. The topic was "Connecting the Dots" and she talked about how God places people (dots) in our lives at just the right time to help us move one step closer to God. You and Bob were definately "dots" in Dave's life. Live everyone else-why am I crying? I agree with Dorcas-you are such a good writer!