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A friend of mine from high school died recently.  Well, I guess he was pretty much everyone’s friend.  In high school, if you wanted to be a friend of mine, you pretty much had to love everyone, because I was pretty much the bottom of the barrel as far as friends you may pick go.  But Dennis was like that.  He was a total goofball and laughed mercilessly at life, but he would also sit right there in the pit with you, and let anyone and everyone be his dear friend.

I was telling my husband about his death, the day I found out.  It kinda just sunk in the bottom of my stomach and seems to have stayed there for the past almost week (since I found out about it).  The hubs said he remembered his name.  I rattled my brain for a few moments to think of what memory I may have told him.  But it didn’t take long to figure it out.

It was THAT moment.  It was probably the lowest moment of my entire life.  I’ll spare you the details, because honestly, they aren’t very edifying.  Let’s just say, I’d hit it.  The very… solid… bottom.  And there was only one person there, who stuck with me, all the way through.  Yup.  You guessed it (Okay, I’m assuming you’re perceptive enough to guess it).  Dennis.  He was the one.  There.  With me.  Trying to cheer me up by giving me a dip of his chew, because that’s what Wyoming boys do to cheer up the ladies, I guess.

His death kinda hits somewhere in my gut, because, well, because he was one of those people that made a simple, yet substantial difference, and that was one of those moments that I could’ve lost all hope in, given up entirely… but I had one, single, persistent friend, who couldn’t let me suffer all by myself.

I had a few of those moments, in high school.  I also had moments when nobody stood up for me, where no one would hang with me, because of my spiritual and moral leprosy.  But in that moment, someone did, just by staying with me at my lowest.  And I will always cherish that.

I doubt he will ever know how empty and tormented  I was in that moment, or how much his presence was the only thing keep breath in my lungs.  I doubt he will ever comprehend the weight of the impact.  How he saved a lady from utter despair and kept her alive long enough to discover repentance and find redemption… long enough to carry 3 beautiful children into the world and raise them to be mighty fine warriors… long enough to make her peace with God.  I guess I’ll probably get to hug him someday up there, where it’s all golden and glorious.  Because, as I have since discovered, Dennis also got to make his peace with God.  And I am so glad for that, more than any other part of his story.

But I am also deeply thankful.

And I just want to write this story for all the people, who think that it’s just simple, small business to sit in trenches with people who have made utter messes out of their lives, just so they don’t have to suffer alone.  Here’s to a really great man, who gave me my only dip of chewing tobacco that I’ve ever tried (because it also made me throw up a little of the nasty Budweiser that was then sloshing around in my stomach), and to a moment that could have ended my life, but instead reminded me that I still had at least one person on earth who loved me enough to bear my shame by sitting with me.  Here’s to all the friends who have sat in the pit with another.  It’s no small business.  You never know the impact you are having just by being present.  Thanks, Dennis.  And thank You, Jesus, for sending someone along to remind me that I wasn’t completely forsaken, even at a time when I wouldn’t receive that friendship directly from You!   I’m just really, really grateful.

Space Welch  11/7/16

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