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August 16, 2013

Thanks, Good Buddy

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Yesterday afternoon, as I was reading through the newest edition of Luther’s Works, the doorbell rang. Scampering down the stairs (OK, maybe I didn’t “scamper”) and opening the front door, a man I’d never seen before stood on the stoop. Introducing himself as an Episcopalian minister from Colorado, he said he was an actual follower of this blog. He found the blog during a Google search earlier this year when looking for the hideous term “cancer and health.”

At the time, his wife was battling metastasized breast cancer and wasn’t given long to live. He decided to seek out help on the internet, hoping beyond hope that anyone would have some glimmer of good news to help his wife. And by the power of Google (and the Lord), he stumbled onto one of my posts about battling cancer.

His wife’s battle with cancer ended in April when she was called to her eternal rest. After her death, he made plans to do some of the things his wife loved to do. He took a cooking class because, as he said, “I couldn’t boil water without setting off the smoke detector.” One of his wife’s favorite ways to relax was to garden. Again, her husband was more of a “brown thumb” and ended up working with a local florist to teach him how to grow plants.

And the reason this Colorado minister was in northern New Jersey last evening? His wife also loved to travel. This summer, he invited his three children and their families to visit New York City with him because his wife loved Broadway and New York cheesecake. Yesterday, he rented a car and traveled through the Lincoln Tunnel and up the Turnpike to pay this pastor a visit. He wanted to thank me for the help I gave to him and his wife.

Help?

I was a little perplexed. Maybe I am little too close to it, but I never considered anything I’ve written about my cancer battle to be “helpful.” But he explained that I presented a dual bright outlook throughout – on one hand, cancer was not going to kill me, but on the other, if it did, I would be going to the Lord, and that ain’t a bad place to be.

As he teared up, he gave me hug and said with his voice cracking, “Thanks, good buddy.”

Then he said a prayer.

After exchanging pleasant stories about our collective ministries and work, he decided to head back into the city to meet up with his family. They planned on catching a kid’s movie in Times Square and getting dinner from a local pizzeria. He said he loved New York pizza.

So did his wife.

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