Commitment-Phobe: Farewell my dear friend
Saying goodbye to a dearly loved friend
A dear, dear friend of mine died recently. He was like a surrogate father to me. It all felt very sudden. I hadn’t been in contact with him much for many years. He had vascular dementia and a sharp tongue, and it was difficult to arrange time to see him as he spent more and more time away from London. Then we got the call saying that he had suffered a stomach embolism – his major artery bursting – and though the surgery was successful he was in a coma and frail at 89, so his survival was unclear.
We went to the hospital as soon as possible, suddenly aware of every missed opportunity to see him, of every grudge held on to too tight, of every wonderful moment spent together now gone. He happened to be one of the most incredible people we had ever met. Despite his tongue, he was generous to a fault and the benefactor of many, many people, particularly young people and children who had less than loving relationships with their parents. You can be a great person and have many faults.
He survived for a week before it became obvious that his brain was no longer working. During this time, I and many friends visited him daily. All but one of his family are in a faraway country, but his other, chosen family were there to hold his hand, to kiss him goodbye and to still hope beyond hope.
When I saw him, I was convinced that he could hear me speaking. I prayed for him. I prayed for peace and healing. I also reminded him that a big celebration was coming up that he needed to be at. He gave a ragged breath on the respirator and I felt he heard me.
When I told an acquaintance at church, her first question was: ‘Is he Christian?’ I knew what was coming, and I felt my anger rising. I could have pointed out an imaginary friend and left the building quickly, but instead I said: ‘I don’t think so, why?’ She said: ‘You should ask him to accept Christ as his saviour.’
For so many reasons, I was utterly offended…
Commitment-Phobe is a Christian
This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2019 edition of Reform