On Saturday night Eric and I spoke to 12 couples about love and marriage. It was originally scheduled for Valentine's Day, but due to bad weather it was postponed to Saturday night. The place we had the banquet at was in this back room of what appeared to be a run down Dairy Queen. We were surrounded by white lattice, fake plants, decorations from every holiday you could imagine. It felt like we stepped back in time, way back in time.
The majority of the couples there were well into their 70's. They all had been married for 40 plus years. Eric and I sat at the head table along with the pastor of their church and his wife. I sat on the end and across from this gentleman named, Roger.
Roger began the night by asking me lots of questions, the getting to know you type, and then Roger filled me in on his life. He was married for a couple of years and his wife unexpectedly passed away leaving him with a 3 month old baby. He had a nanny for the baby but knew he needed and desired another wife. He had the church pray for him and then he told me "I had to tell them to stop praying because I had 21 girlfriends." I about died. Roger worked at the same place for 45 years. He loved working there, I could tell by the tears in his eyes when he recalled countless stories that happened over those 45 years. The kind people at that place still treat him very nicely and I am sure they are thankful for his dedication to their business.
Roger also told me about his health issues, past and current. He has a 16 year old girls heart in his chest. This story was difficult for Roger to tell me. You can tell he wrestles with the guilt of that 16 year olds heart pumping in his 78 year old chest. But with each pump he is doing his best to live life to the fullest and make that girl proud.
Dialysis happens 4 times a week. Roger now has Wednesday's off, and he told me how much that frees up his schedule to go out and meet with people. Roger loves to talk, there is no doubt about that, but he mostly loves to share Jesus with all the people he talks to. He used to go to truck stops and drink coffee with truckers and travelers and witness to them. Roger would plaster tracks and Christian literature all over truck stops and road side rests. That was his ministry, that was his calling, and although life and health has slowed his down, he still considers it his calling.
Roger loves to garden- vegetables, fruit, and flowers. He takes flowers with him to the hospital when we receives his dialysis treatments. He hands out flowers to chemo patients, nurses, and other family members sitting in the waiting room.
And don't get him started on collecting antiques, because he will talk your ear off.
Despite everything Roger has been through he would always end his sentences or stories with "God is so good." "I am amazed God used somebody like me." "God is faithful." "I don't know why this was/is my path in life, but I am so glad God is walking it with me."
Roger likened himself to Job during the night, telling of his wife passing away, his cattle all keeling over in the pasture, and just plain wanting to give up. But through God, with God, and always because of God, Roger made it through. And he is still making it through.
I feel like Roger could have been my grandfather, we just clicked and bonded over our cubed steak and mashed potatoes. I enjoyed talking to him so much, and hopefully I can go visit him on his farm. He was a true definition of a faithfilled person, and I learned so much about joy and hope from him on Saturday night.