A Friend Goes Home

I flew home from Europe just in time to help one of my closest friends cross the threshold of life in this age into the glory of Father’s house. After flying into LA late Sunday afternoon, Sara and I stopped at the house long enough to exchange luggage, get a bit of sleep and then headed to our hold home town 3 hours north of us. Paul Gutierrez was in the final stages of his battle with cancer at home with his wife, Louise. These two have been among our closest friends for the last couple of decades. I didn’t think he would live until I got home, but it seems he waited for me.

Sara and I were there only two hours before it became apparent the end was near. Father had put it on my heart to read Colossians to him from THE MESSAGE, which I did. Sara, Louise and Paul’s two sisters cried our way through it as his breathing slowed. So many of those verses spoke so clearly to what was going on in that room and in Father’s heart. As I ended his breathing slowed appreciably. I grabbed both of his arms, told him that we all loved him and commended him to the glory of the Father. A few short breaths later he stopped breathing and shortly after his pulse stopped. He stepped across the threshold to Eternity and has finally seen him face to face for whom our souls long. I am overjoyed for him and a future day when we will join him there.

But we cried and cried with Louise. She lost her husband of 30 years and Sara and I at least for the time being lost a very close friend. We are not as those who grieve without hope, but we still grieve. We just grieve with the hope that this is not the last word and though our parting is painful a more glorious reunion yet lies ahead. If my time in Ireland was even a fleeting taste of the relationships we’ll have in heaven, then that will be a grand day indeed!

For now, we will all be busy in the next few days helping with arrangements and planning Paul’s memorial gathering on Saturday that I’ve been asked to facilitate. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through that one.

It’s a bit of a whirlwind quite honestly. I usually come home from trips quite wasted and this was no exception. My body clock is way off and I haven’t had a long, deep night’s sleep yet. Exhaustion just hangs at the edges of my consciousness, but I pray God holds me together through this week and does some wonderful things in family and friends as we deal with Paul’s departure from this world. In the meantime I’m falling behind with everything else. Your patience and understanding will be greatly appreciated, as will your prayers….

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24 Comments
  1. Marti July 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Oh Wayne, I’m not sure what to say, but I will be mindful of you and Sara and of Paul’s family. I hope you can get some rest and will have some time to sort out all that has happened in the past few weeks. I can’t help but think there is reasoning in the timing of all of these events. I know Father will walk strongly with you through the coming days.

  2. Charles Graham July 4, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Hey Wayne,

    My heart goes out to you, but more for Louise. I lost my youngest son on May 26, 2007. It looked like it may have been a suicide, but we’re not for sure because of some of the circumstances. All I know is that he is in the Father’s presence. It’s difficult outliving one of your children.

    These last three years have been very difficult. My wife lost both of her parents in 2005. Then in 2006 she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She had a complete mastectomy and rebuild with four months of chemo. She is doing fine now. Then this year I lost my job and the my son. But even in all of this, the one thing that I’m sure of is the Father’s love and mercy.

  3. kent July 4, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    I’m praying for you all Wayne.

  4. Marti July 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Oh Wayne, I’m not sure what to say, but I will be mindful of you and Sara and of Paul’s family. I hope you can get some rest and will have some time to sort out all that has happened in the past few weeks. I can’t help but think there is reasoning in the timing of all of these events. I know Father will walk strongly with you through the coming days.

  5. Joy July 4, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Wayne,

    What a sweet and sad departure. You are in our prayers. Your reminder that we do not grieve as those without hope is a good one for all of us.

  6. Charles Graham July 4, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Hey Wayne,

    My heart goes out to you, but more for Louise. I lost my youngest son on May 26, 2007. It looked like it may have been a suicide, but we’re not for sure because of some of the circumstances. All I know is that he is in the Father’s presence. It’s difficult outliving one of your children.

    These last three years have been very difficult. My wife lost both of her parents in 2005. Then in 2006 she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She had a complete mastectomy and rebuild with four months of chemo. She is doing fine now. Then this year I lost my job and the my son. But even in all of this, the one thing that I’m sure of is the Father’s love and mercy.

  7. kent July 4, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    I’m praying for you all Wayne.

  8. Carrie July 5, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Father, we ask for your peace and comfort in all the lives affected by Paul’s passing. Allow them the time and the place to grieve fully, finding their strength in you and each other. Give Wayne an extra measure of that strenth as he facilitates the memorial service for his dear friend on Saturday. Help Louise especially to walk through each painful day that lies ahead. May you be honored and glorified through it all. Amen!

  9. Joy July 5, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Wayne,

    What a sweet and sad departure. You are in our prayers. Your reminder that we do not grieve as those without hope is a good one for all of us.

  10. Carrie July 5, 2007 at 3:25 am

    Father, we ask for your peace and comfort in all the lives affected by Paul’s passing. Allow them the time and the place to grieve fully, finding their strength in you and each other. Give Wayne an extra measure of that strenth as he facilitates the memorial service for his dear friend on Saturday. Help Louise especially to walk through each painful day that lies ahead. May you be honored and glorified through it all. Amen!

  11. Pamela July 5, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I have no words. I know the pain of losing a good friend to cancer. It is a dreadful thing. However her diagnosis came about six months after she became a follower of Christ. For that I will be eternally grateful. Most of the time I knew her she was not walking with Christ. She moved to heaven August 24, 2006 at the age of 54. The pain is still there at times, especially when I do things that I know I would have done with her. However the Lord does bring comfort in the midst of the grief. The Lord will give you the words to say on Saturday morning. Just know that you are doing what your precious friend wanted. Even though it will probably be one of the worst days of your life at the same time the friendship that you treasure is continuing in a different capacity. I’m sure that you will minister the love of God that will bring comfort to many and possibly revelation to some that may not know the Lord. These are the times where those that do not know the Father can see how we walk through dreadful circumstances.

  12. Pamela July 5, 2007 at 11:56 am

    I have no words. I know the pain of losing a good friend to cancer. It is a dreadful thing. However her diagnosis came about six months after she became a follower of Christ. For that I will be eternally grateful. Most of the time I knew her she was not walking with Christ. She moved to heaven August 24, 2006 at the age of 54. The pain is still there at times, especially when I do things that I know I would have done with her. However the Lord does bring comfort in the midst of the grief. The Lord will give you the words to say on Saturday morning. Just know that you are doing what your precious friend wanted. Even though it will probably be one of the worst days of your life at the same time the friendship that you treasure is continuing in a different capacity. I’m sure that you will minister the love of God that will bring comfort to many and possibly revelation to some that may not know the Lord. These are the times where those that do not know the Father can see how we walk through dreadful circumstances.

  13. cilla July 5, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Dear Wayne
    Your presence with us a couple of weeks ago was a source of great encouragement and blessing. Thank you for spending your time and energy to be with us. We are now praying for you and Sarah in your loss of your dear friend. We pray you will know a measure of real peace and comfort in the days ahead as you share in the gathering this weekend. And also that you will get some restoring sleep. With love Steve and Cilla

  14. cilla July 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Dear Wayne
    Your presence with us a couple of weeks ago was a source of great encouragement and blessing. Thank you for spending your time and energy to be with us. We are now praying for you and Sarah in your loss of your dear friend. We pray you will know a measure of real peace and comfort in the days ahead as you share in the gathering this weekend. And also that you will get some restoring sleep. With love Steve and Cilla

  15. Benjamin Graber July 6, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Wayne,

    I will be praying for you and Sara, and especially for Louise. May our Father bless you with peace and comfort in the midst of your tears.

    Father is also calling my Grandmother home. She hasn’t gone yet, but the moment when she will is leaving is very close. This is the first time someone that I’ve been very close to has been called home; I know it’s going to be hard, but I know that Father has us in His arms.

    Blessings be upon you!

  16. Benjamin Graber July 6, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Wayne,

    I will be praying for you and Sara, and especially for Louise. May our Father bless you with peace and comfort in the midst of your tears.

    Father is also calling my Grandmother home. She hasn’t gone yet, but the moment when she will is leaving is very close. This is the first time someone that I’ve been very close to has been called home; I know it’s going to be hard, but I know that Father has us in His arms.

    Blessings be upon you!

  17. Diane July 7, 2007 at 1:39 am

    Wayne,
    Praying for you, Sara, and for Louise. May God sustain you during this time with strength, comfort and His peace.

  18. Diane July 7, 2007 at 4:39 am

    Wayne,
    Praying for you, Sara, and for Louise. May God sustain you during this time with strength, comfort and His peace.

  19. Clifton July 7, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Wayne,
    You’ve given so much of yourself to so many that you will never meet this side of eternity. Please take whatever time you need to grieve and rest without worrying about other obligations.

  20. Clifton July 7, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Wayne,
    You’ve given so much of yourself to so many that you will never meet this side of eternity. Please take whatever time you need to grieve and rest without worrying about other obligations.

  21. Messy Christian July 7, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    My condolences to all of you. You and Sara, and Paul’s family are in my prayers.

  22. Messy Christian July 7, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    My condolences to all of you. You and Sara, and Paul’s family are in my prayers.

  23. trish July 8, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Wayne,

    Papa is particularly fond of Paul. And Louise… Love to you and Sara.. You are true friends…

  24. trish July 8, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Wayne,

    Papa is particularly fond of Paul. And Louise… Love to you and Sara.. You are true friends…

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