Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 27, 2012

In Memory of Jim, a Beloved Brother in Christ, by David Bower

A Special Friend and Brother in Christ

Tuesday morning, May 22, 2012 the phone rang and my wife answered it; after a brief conversation she hung up the phone and came in to tell me that Jim had died. It was a good thing I was sitting down as I felt a wave of shock flash over me when I heard the news. This special Jim was an old and dear friend.

On rare occasions someone comes into our lives that makes a profound difference; when that happens one can only feel blessed by God’s grace. Just over ten years ago I had that experience although at the time I didn’t realize the significance of what had happened.

My wife and I met Jim and his wife at church; I do not remember the exact circumstances of our meeting for the first time but all of us must have felt there was something there worth cultivating because our families developed a loving, caring friendship that would last many years.

A Shared Love for Classical Music

As we later discovered, Jim and I shared a love for classical music and what was even more unusual, we shared a love for classical pipe organ music. Again I cannot remember the exact circumstances surrounding our discovery but I suspect it didn’t take too long for me to tell Jim about my audio system and invite him over to hear it.

I had been an audio hobbyist for over 50 years and had developed a love for organ music; when I designed my dream system I made sure it could reproduce the full range of the pipe organ. When Jim heard my system he was delighted with the sound; it pleased him just as much as it pleased me.

We both agreed we would need to have more than one “music afternoon” and it developed into a regular thing that meant a lot to both of us. Once it started it never stopped; earlier Jim would come over and we would go out for lunch but as Jim’s physical condition became more of a challenge for him he wouldn’t come over until just after lunch and we would enjoy music until late afternoon.

Concert Level Music Enjoyment

One of the things Jim and I both enjoyed was playing back our music at concert level and by that I mean you’re either on the front row or standing on the podium concert level. After we were done for the afternoon my wife would have to go around and straighten all of the paintings which had been knocked sideways by the loud music. Jim and I had a great time!

Usually about mid-afternoon I would ask Jim if he would like some coffee or tea and he would always say he would if I was having some and I always did. The music stopped while we were having tea or coffee and we would start talking about something in which we had a mutual interest, it could be the Bible, politics, or some aspect of the world situation but our conversations could go on for an extended period of time.

My wife would usually join us in the conversation and we would have a great time talking about whatever we choose. On more than one occasion we would keep on talking right up until it was time for Jim to go home; he liked to coordinate his return home with his wife’s schedule.

Physical Challenges Increase

As Jim’s physical condition became more of a challenge to him I started noticing he tired more easily. Jim always sat in the same recliner/rocker and enjoyed slowly rocking while he listened to music. I started noticing out of the corner of my eye that the rocking motion would sometimes stop and I would look over and see Jim’s head would have fallen forward and he was asleep; usually that was for a brief period as a change in the music would awaken him and the rocking would start again.

I was so pleased that Jim felt relaxed enough in our home to fall asleep; this was to me a touching indicator of the depth of our friendship.

In addition to our music afternoons we also had movie nights that included husbands and wives from three families. This developed into a monthly event and we would all bring sandwiches and eat together at our breakfast room table and enjoy spirited conversation around the table.

Following our sandwiches we would retire to the den and watch a movie usually chosen by vote. This was a happy time for all of us and will occupy an important place in our memories. By God’s grace we hope to continue movie night with one chair empty; that will be difficult but the general consensus seems to be that it is a good idea.

My last music afternoon with Jim was on April 4, 2012; we had an enjoyable afternoon and no idea it would be our last. One of God’s rich blessings for His children is to not know the future; it is entirely sufficient that He does.

After Jim’s death, Jim’s wife called me and asked me to say a few words at Jim’s memorial service on Saturday morning as Jim’s friend and I felt honored to have the opportunity to speak about Jim.

One of the points I made was to tell those there how easy it was to be Jim’s friend as he was one of the finest Christian gentlemen I have ever known. Here was a man who exhibited a Spirit led walk and manifested the fruit of the Spirit in his life always without exception in my experience.

The Friday afternoon before the memorial service I was sitting in the den thinking over my friendship with Jim and trying to choose those things I would say the following morning. It was so easy to remember him sitting in his recliner slowly rocking. I was hit with a great sadness as I realized I would never see him in that chair again.

I forced myself to imagine him home with the Lord and having a marvelous time seeing and experiencing those things of which we can only dream. It helped overcome my sadness to imagine his joy and laughter as he enjoys being in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jim’s home-going leaves a hole in the lives of all who knew and loved him. For his family it is a formidably large hole and for his friends it is a painfully large hole. Jim’s wife asked me to mention a Bible verse and she happened to mention Proverbs 3:5-6 among others; when she mentioned those verses in Proverbs I told her those were my anchor verses in times of testing and immediately decided those were the verses I would use.

When a loved one goes home to be with the Lord there is no hope of understanding; the only viable alternative is to trust in the Lord who loves us and gave Himself for us. My anchor verses in Proverbs tell us, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Jim will be sorely missed.


Responses

  1. A heart felt tribute. Very sorry you have lost this friend. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. It is always sad and hard to lose a friend and loved one but we can take comfort knowing they are with the Lord now and how happy they are.

    Like

  3. Your words are precious David! They have rouched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. But one day, and this is true for Jim even now, there will be no more tears!! Oh the HOPE that awaits us! You and Adele are in my prayers along with Lynette and her family.

    Like


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