Mr. X

by Arnold Nelson

      I am a Stephen minister. I went through all the training and I have my credentials. At the end of training we only had one person ask for help, so the rest of us were given fictitious care receivers so that we would have something to report on at our bimonthly supervisory meetings. Normally all information including names are kept completely confidential. Without the confidentiality Stephen ministry would not work. All the credit has to go to God.

     Stephen ministers have to stay in the background. Stephen ministers will bring care receivers to the cross but the care receiver has to take the final step by themselves. Because this is a totally fictitious case I can give you an idea of what goes on between care giver and care receiver. The care giver is suppose to meet with the care receiver once a week for about an hour. Depending on the care receiver needs there can be more or less meetings. There is often phone calls between time whenever either party finds the need. At the supervisory meeting problems with care receivers are discussed so that the other ministers and the leader can help with suggestions that the care giver might not think of. No names are ever mentioned.

      The care receiver I was given was a man who lost his wife about 6 months ago and was adjusting pretty well to the loss. Then he found out he had terminal Cancer as was expected to live less then a year. The first two meetings I had with Mr. X we just made small talk and was getting comfortable with each other.

     The third meeting I asked what his favorite Bible verse was. He answered John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life. We discussed that verse for a while then I said let's pray. He agreed. I said I will pray first then when I stop you can pray either out loud or silently between you and God. Whatever makes you comfortable. So I prayed to God for strength for me and Mr. X and that God might give me the words to help him. Then I stopped and waited I gave him 30 seconds of silence so that he could pray in silence.

     After that we started talking and he started to reveal what was bothering him. He told me when his mother died there was problems with the estate between him and his sister. He felt she took too much and she felt he took too much. It ended with them not speaking to each other again. He did not want that to happen to his children after he is gone.

    I suggested he find a lawyer and get a will written up. When everything is in the will the kids cannot fight about it. He asked me if I could write one for him. I said no, to be legal it has to be a lawyer. He will listen to everything you have to say and then write it up so that it will be legal and it will be exactly what you discussed with him. He thought it over and decided it was a good idea. He asked who he should ask. I said "I don't know any lawyers, ask your friends if they know any or you could ask Pastor Ed. He said that sounded good."

     A few days later he called me and he said he found a lawyer and had an appointment for next week. He was all excited. We met a few more times. We had scriptures and a prayer then we talked. About a month later he told me the will was finished and he a copy and the lawyer had a copy. I said that was great.

    Then he started in on another subject. He said he wanted to find his sister Megan and make up with her. He said it was about 15 years since he talked to her. He also had a brother Tom who he hasn't seen in about 50 years. He told me the story of Tom. When Tom was 18 he fell in love with a beautiful girl but his parents refused to let them marry. So Tom and the girl ran away and got married and never talked to his parents again. He never tried to get in touch with Mr. X or Megan either.

     I said it would be a big job but with God's help we just might find them both. Lets start with Megan do you think you wife kept in touch. He smiled and said she might have, if she did the phone number would be in her address book. He pointed to a box on a self and asked me to bring it over. I got it down and set it on the table. He slowly opened the box and told me he had not gone through her stuff since he packed it up about 3 months ago. I could see a tear come to his eye as he slowly went through the treasures in the box.

     He finally pulled out a little red book. As he opened it up a big smile came to his face. He said "IIt is here she had kept in touch. I will call her right now." I said "Wait until morning it is 2 hours difference back there and it is too late to call tonight." He laughed and said "Your right I wasn't thinking." Then He said "How are we ever going to find Tom after all these years." I said "Leave it up to God. He can do anything. So we prayed about it. Then we ended the meeting.

     The next morning about 10 my phone rings. I pick it up and it is Mr. X. He was very excited he and Megan talked for nearly 2 hours. He said Megan has never heard from Tom either. Megan said she would do what she could to find him. Megan was in touch with some of their cousins maybe one of them knows where Tom is.

     We kept up our meetings, as the meetings continued I could see he was getting more and more prepared to go home and be with his wife again. One day about 2 months later he told me he had a call from Megan she said she might have a lead on Tom. He told me that Megan had put a note on facebook because a lot of our cousins are on her friends list. She got an answer recently from one of the cousins. The cousin told Megan that her mother kept in touch with Tom up until she died about 5 years ago. The cousin said she wrote him and told him about the funeral and he came for it. Tom left right after the funeral and did not talk to anyone. The cousin wrote a few more letters to Tom but Tom never answered. The cousin said her mother told her that Tom kept it touch with her because he wanted to know what was happening with his siblings.

      Tom said no one was to ever know because he never wanted to see his family again and if someone ever found out he would disappear and no one would ever hear from him again. So She kept his secret all these years and only told me when she was dying so maybe I could kept up the letters with him. I tried but he never would respond to my letters so I quit. I am breaking the promise I made with my mother because I think, under the circumstances, the 3 of you should have a reunion before it is too late so she gave the address to Megan. Megan said she would check it out. The address was about 50 miles from where Megan lives.

     One morning Megan told her family she was going to check out Tom's address. One of her daughters said I am not letting you go alone. I am going with you. Then a Grandson said take me with you too. You need to have a man with you. So the 3 of them took off to find Tom When they got to the address the cousin had given them, they found a beautiful 2 story house. Megan acting braver then she felt took her daughter's and her grandson's hands and walked up to the door. She took a big gulp then rang the bell, she could here the chimes going inside. A few minutes later a young lady open the door. The girl had a frown on her face and said yes. Megan said they were looking for Tom and explained who they were. The girl got a big smile on her face and said I am Tom's granddaughter my name is Tia. Come have a seat in here and I will get him for you. She took them to a beautiful sitting room.

     A few minutes later Tia came back with an old gray hair man. She said Grandpa this is your sister Megan and her daughter and grandson. Tom walked over and hugged Megan as the tears started to fall. Then he hugged the daughter and grandson. Tom said it has been way to long I am sorry I never made contact with you after the big fight with Mom and Dad, I was heart broken I love you and our brother I wanted so many times to get in touch with you but I was afraid you were mad at me for running away.

    Megan said I found you through out cousin she said you kept in touch with her mother. Tom said yes I wanted to keep up on what was happening in my sibling's lives but was afraid to make contact so Aunt Jane was kind enough to keep me informed. When she died I just didn't have the energy to write anymore letters. We will have to tell her Thank you for getting us back together.

     They talked the rest of the day and when it started to get dark, Tom said it is almost suppertime do you want to stay for dinner? Tia is a great cook. She takes care of me now that my wife is gone. Megan said thank you Tom but it is getting late and we need to be getting home. Next week is Christmas why don't you and Tia and any other of you family spend Christmas with us . We always have a big feast. Tom agreed. Megan said on Christmas we will take time to call our brother. He wants to talk to you very badly.

      Christmas day arrived and Tom and his family were at Megan's. Megan said Come into my office Tom this is the time I told our brother I would call with news about you. We can have some peace and quiet in there. So they went into the office Megan made the call and put the phone on speaker and when her brother answered she said There is someone here who wants to say hello. Then Tom said Hello brother this is Tom. The brother could hardly talk with all the tears running down his face. They talked for over an hour. They made arrangements for a reunion. Tom and Megan would fly out to Arizona next week and they could spend New Years together.

     After the call Mr. X called me and he was still crying as he told me about the phone conversation and the reunion next week. I told him I couldn't be happier for him. He said he might have to cancel our meeting next week I said the was fine. You reunion is going to do you far more good then I ever could.

    The next morning his Granddaughter went to check on him and found him unconscious and laying on the floor. She called the paramedics and they rushed him to the hospital. He woke up in the hospital a few hours later. He asked his granddaughter to call me. He explained who I was. So she called me and I rushed to the hospital to see Mr. X. I found him resting comfortable in his bed. He was medicated but was still lucid.

     We talked for about an hour then his granddaughter came in. She came over and gave me a hug. She said she knew her Grandfather had been happier the last couple of months but didn't know why. She thanked me for helping him. Her mother would be there in an hour. She is just getting off work. The doctors decided that the cancer had advanced to a stage that Mr. X could not live alone anymore he needed constant help. So he was put in an assisted living center.

     The day after he was put in the center his brother and sister arrived. Then went into his room everyone else was asked to leave and they had a reunion that lasted about 3 hours. When Tom and Megan left he was asleep with a big smile on his face. Tom and Megan stayed at their brothers house while they were in town.

     One day Megan called me and said her brother told them I would take communion to shut-ins. I said yes. She asked if I could take a last communion to her brother and she wanted to know if she and Tom could share it too. I said yes, When do you want it. Megan said It had better be soon I don't think he has long to live. So we arranged to have it in 2 days. When I got to Mr. X's room Megan and Tom were waiting. We had the final communion for Mr. X and we all were blessed by it. A week later Mr. X died. When he died he was at peace with his Lord and his family and was looking forward to being with his wife again. I learned a lot from that old man. Thank you God for bringing him into my life.

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