Monday, March 22, 2010

How Close A Friend

Tom was an interesting man; long beard, frequently lit pipe, soft-spoken, a zoo director, and a friend who helped me learn the patience necessary for the living art of Bonsai. He and I and a handful of others gathered irregularly and talk about junipers, elms, boxwoods, and azaleas and how to train them into the visions of balance and beauty that is a Bonsai tree. One day I received a sad call from a friend, Tom was dead. At just 50, a single heart attack had ended his life.

The next time I saw Tom, he was laid in a solid oak casket, dressed in his zookeeper garb, his most beautiful Bonsai on a stand at the foot of his casket, a picture of a falcon on his arm at the head, a falconer glove and his pipe nestled under his hands. I did not know that Tom was a falconer. Apparently most who are are tight-lipped about this hobby. The birds of prey are fragile and valuable and do not do well with many visitors, so their keepers keep them and their hobby quietly.

I also did not know that Tom was a naturalist. I listened as a falconer friend eulogized him, how he believed that Tom had returned to the earth and the elements from which he came. How whenever they saw a hawk fly across the sky Tom would be there, not in spirit, but in essence; his molecules mixed in with the molecules of all things both living and inanimate. His wife seemed to find comfort in those words, and so did many of his friends who were also naturalists. I had known him for several years, but had never taken the time to know him beyond our shared hobby. He was a friend, but I had not taken the time to know him and I had not taken the time to share Christ with him, and as I listened I was not comforted.

While this might seem the time to encourage any Christian who reads this to make sure and take the time to share Christ with their friends, it is not. As I remember how little I knew about Tom, that I could have told Tom the good news about Jesus, I am more concerned with how little, sometimes, it seems that Christians know about Jesus Christ. And, I wonder if, when our lives are over, we will weep over our failure to have put forth the effort to know Him better.


Anonymous said...

Cyle, one of the blessings of reading your posts is that you always point me towards Jesus and challenge me to know Him better. Thanks. selahV