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COLUMN: Keeping A Promise

February 10, 2021 at 5:00 a.m.

From 1989 to 1995, I had the joy of working part-time with a gentleman in a scientific laboratory. Let's call him Blake. He was a kind man with a gentle nature, he rarely got riled or upset about anything, and he had a brilliant mind. Blake served in the U.S. Army during World War II, but was 82 when I began working with him, and we had the pleasure of working together on some intricate scientific projects.

Blake had formally retired some years prior to when I met him, but he was brought back part-time as a consultant. I had the privilege of being assigned to him. He was tired and non-energetic, but when I worked with him, he perked up.

During the next four years, Blake's memory slowly began to dim. At times he would forget things, such as where he placed his notebook, or where he parked his car. But we watched him a little closer when he had to stop and remember what door led out of our office or out of our laboratory.

Eventually, he fully retired. We had a party for him, and shared good memories of working with him. After the party, Blake's wife (we'll call her Mary) said, "Gene, Blake's life was wrapped around the lab. Can you come by and visit once a week or so?"

"Sure, Mary. I would like that. Have coffee for me when I get there."

"Well, you better let me know when you're coming!" Mary spat back, good-naturedly. We both laughed, and Blake asked, "What are you conspiring about?"

"Blake, you're in trouble. Mary asked me to come visit once a week or so."

"Good, and I'll make sure we have coffee for you. Mary, Gene likes cream and sugar."

I looked at Mary. Giving one last jab, she said, "Just make sure you keep your promise and come." For the next eight years I kept in touch with them, visiting at least three times a month.

We talked about the projects we formerly worked on, and I updated him on new experiments. At times, Mary gave me updates on Blakes memory and health.

One day ... "I don't know what to do sometimes," Mary said. "Every once in a while, Blake goes off into never-never-land mentally, and I don't know how to talk with him. Entering the past, he thinks I'm someone else, and gets irate when I can't tell him what he wants to know."

"I'll come over a little more often."

Sure enough, about two weeks later, when I knocked on the back door ...

"Gene, come in here! Blake's gone again."

Entering the house, I walked to his office, and stood for about 10 seconds. He seemed to have a troubled look on his face. Then he looked up.

"Where've you been?"

Entering the office, I snapped to attention. Saluting, I said, "Sergeant Linzey reporting, sir!"

"I told you I promoted you to Lieutenant."

"Yes, sir! Lieutenant Linzey reporting, sir!"

"What's the report?"

In order to give a coherent account, I needed to know where he was in memory.

"Sir, I have several for you. Which one do you want to hear first?"

"The Bulge!"

I had studied about many WWII battles, so I gave a military report about General George Patton directing his 3rd Army in the Battle of the Bulge through a tough counterthrust movement, pushing the Germans across the Rhine River, liberating the town of Bastogne, France, and reinforcing the 101st Airborne Division.

Intrigued, Mary was listening. As I was reporting, the look in Blake's eyes changed. Looking around, he gently asked, "Gene, when did you get here?"

Relaxing, "I just got here, Brother Blake. How are you doing?"

"I'm doing fine. Mary, did you get Gene his coffee?"

"Coming right up."

Blake and I enjoyed our visit.

Later, Mary asked, "How in blazes do you do that?"

"I merely met Blake where he was, and mentally walked with him until he found me. That's what Jesus does with us. He meets us wherever we are in our troubled state, offers to help, then walks with us until we find Him."

Blake died a few months later.

We humans get lost in our problems, don't know what to do. But we create societal and political chaos – God doesn't. He loves you, and will help you through any kind of problem you'll encounter, including dying. Why not turn to Him today? He's waiting.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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