Several years ago I sporadically attended an early morning prayer meeting at my church. While our pastor always seemed cheery and wide awake, most of us dragged ourselves in the door and to our seat. I noticed one man there. Bill was rather dumpily dressed, somewhat disheveled with white hair askew, usually unshaven, drooping eyelids with bushy brows, and very quiet. I had seen this man before but had never talked to him. Didn’t really know who he was or what his story was.
He didn’t say much in the meeting but when he prayed out loud it was quickly evident that the waters ran deep in his soul. Two years ago, Bill lost his job and called me to see if he could take some counseling classes at Biblical. In those classes and in our discussions afterward, I learned several things about Bill: he loved to learn. In this way he was the perfect student. On breaks or during the week, he wanted to discuss what he was reading. And he wanted to know what else he should read. Not to argue, not to show his great wisdom, but just to engage the topic and to learn all that he could. He cared about his fellow students. I saw him practice counseling another student with significant pain in her life. He didn’t always know what to say but you could see the pain on his face. He wasn’t going to focus on his own personal pain but on the needs of others. He didn’t say alot about his own suffering, but it wasn’t hard to see it just the same. And yet, he quickly turned the subject back to the others in the conversation.
Yesterday, I attended Bill’s memorial service. He died after a brief bout with cancer. I was moved by the number of folks who got up to tell how Bill’s love for books, love for serving, and love for praying changed their lives. It took nearly an hour to get through them all. One man said it best, when you pray with a man over 800 times (he had calculated the number of times they had prayed together at bible studies, prayer meetings etc over the last few years), it starts to put grooves in you.
Who has put grooves in you? Who have you grooved with your care?