Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 331 A Flesh and Blood Treasure

Dear friends,

I have a friend on the pilgrim road who deserves a tribute this night. I don't know why it's today, because this fellow traveller has meant the world to Stephen and I lo these last 20 years or so. But, as I follow my heart and try to hear what God is saying to me each time I write here, it seems this is the time to tell you about a man who is really like Jesus, with skin on.

The man is in his sixties now, and he struggles with the normal aches and pains of aging, along with a disability he's had since birth. He walks a little funny, and lacks physical strength, but he is always about town, somewhere or other, doing someone some good. I am forever amazed by his tenacious endurance in the face of some daunting physical challenges. His love for others commandeers him onward and upward.

Is someone in trouble? He's the first one on the phone, seeing how he can help. He's got a pizza in hand or a prayer on his lips or just a kind, caring word. Is someone celebrating? He's there too, sharing the joy, cracking a really corny joke, or bringing an extra sleeve of paper cups. He and his dear wife have shared many a Thanksgiving with us, many a picnic, and many a difficult trial.

Often when our kids were small, he would put $20 in my hand and send me and my husband to Friendly's for something to eat. He even watched our children so we could get out for a bit. At every turn in the road, on many occasions, with a humility and sincerity of heart rarely seen in the 21st century, this faithful, kind and gentle man has been there for our family.

On November 8, 2009, he was devastated by the disastrous accident that nearly killed my loved ones. As expected, he was Johnny on the spot, ready to roll, ready to help, ready to pray, ready to jump in with both feet. I still remember looking straight down the hall coming into the SICU when my husband's life hung in the balance, and seeing him standing there weeping over Stephen's bed. He was present over and over again throughout that ordeal, as he had been in our ordinary life.

I think my favorite picture of the man I am lauding is on Christmas day quite a few years ago. There was a big snowstorm, and we were having a house full of friends for Christmas dinner. In walked this sweet soul, with snow all over his white beard and a grin from ear to ear. The snapshot of him there in my mind will stay with me forever as a picture of a man of grace and cheer, a man who has made my life, and the lives of countless others richer for knowing him.

So, to my adopted dad, my dear friend, and one whose tender heart and humble good nature is a picture of the Great One among us, I honor you. I bless you. I thank you.

The sojourner's highway wouldn't be the same without you, Barrie Baum. I am, and ever shall be,

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



Mary Louise said...

Barrie is indeed an example for us all- Humble, cheerful, helpfulness.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful honor to Barrie,it brought tears to my eyes.I dont know him that well but I can see how every word is true!

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!!!Thank you for sharing this noble hero with us ,out here. ( P.S.-It should read " Stephen and me..."."Me" is the object of the prepostion,"to".)---Lovingly,The Grammar Guru

Anonymous said...

I say Amen to all you wrote. I too have been on the receiving end of this saint. A crown of jewels awaits him. Blessing Phyllis

Stephen said...

One of my memories of Barrie that really epitomizes the man is the sad day, many years ago, that I found out that my father had passed away. Barrie happened to come by that morning to drop something off and I told him what I had just learned - I hadn't even had a chance to tell Loriann yet, who was out with Hannah. Barrie immediately prayed with me and for me, and when the prayer was over he offered to lend us his car to drive down to the Bronx because he knew that our car had been giving us trouble. I thought it was a great example of how he prayed for us but was also eager to help with "practical" matters as well. Love ya, Barrie, even if I do jokingly abuse you once in a while. (Okay, fairly frequently!)