that sticks closer than a brother. I have lost such a friend this weekend. He was my best man, he was my best friend, and I don't know how to think of the world without him in it.
A new friend
J.R. Davison and I first met when I was one of his clients at Grace Ministries in Manassas, Virginia. He had a gentleness of soul and a kindness that I have found in very few people. Most of all he was always pointing me to Jesus as the answer to all of life's problems.
He was the kind of friend you could call at 3 in the morning and he would be there. Now he's not here any more. J.R. died over the weekend from a massive heart attack while doing what he loved to do - talking with men about Jesus.
J.R. - an ordained minister, though he held the titles that go with that lightly - was instrumental in starting the Northern Virginia Tres Dias Community. He attended Reston Bible Church, and was a friend to everyone who knew him. When my wife and I sang at his ordination, I joked "am I going to have to call you the Reverend Davison now?" In his typical style, he smiled and said, "no, I just want to be called your friend."
Last good byes
The last time I saw J.R. was at Fairfax Hospital. My wife and I had just suffered a miscarriage, and I called him to talk to him. In his typical style, he talked to me at length in a gentle and reassuring way. Then later he called me back to say he would be there when my wife had surgery.
And he was. He was there. I cried on his shoulder and he sat with me for hours while my wife was in surgery. He later went into the recovery room with me and talked to her. He was an extraordinary man. When talking about the whole thing later, as we cried, I told my wife "Jesus knew whom to send, honey. He sent J.R."
I write this through tears because I can hardly believe it. The experts say the first stage of grief is denial, and I'm in it. I can hardly believe that it's true. I knew this day would come some day. I just didn't think it would be today.
J.R. was a former Marine. He served as a forward observer in Vietnam, and said his job involved strapping on a 12 foot antenna that said "shoot me." But he survived.
I thank God that he did. I would never have known him as a friend. My life has been enriched because of him. He was a priceless friend in every sense of the word. I will miss him terribly.
I know J.R. would smile - that smile that always seemed to say "it's good to see you," and you knew he meant it - and say "why are you making such a big deal? I'm where I have always wanted to be. I see now the source of my life, and I celebrate His grace." I guess I should envy J.R. more than cry for him. But the world is a poorer place without him.