On Saturday Aug. 29 I went to a memorial service for an old friend Phil. He passed away eleven days earlier on Aug.18. He had been ill off and on again for the past fifteen years. Before and during his illness I always thought of Phil as a man of hope.
Whenever I needed to hear a word because I was in a place of darkness and hopeless Phil was there to speak hope back into my life. I met Phil the first time in August of 1982 when I attended a church called Gig Harbor Christian Center. A few years later the name was changed to Vineyard of Gig Harbor. Later on the name was changed a couple more times. Anyway Phil and his wife Lynn had started attending the church only a few weeks before me. Phil was a new convert becoming a Christian only a few weeks before I met him; however, he had so much hope and I had no idea he was a new Christian. God made changes in Phil’s life very quickly, and even more over the years. I am not sure how many times he spoke into my life but I can say it was quite a few times. Each time hope was the main word Phil gave me. He was not afraid to tell anyone what God was doing in his life and what he could in their life. A woman named Sue new Phil almost his entire life. At the memorial service she said that as a boy her father nicknamed him fearless Phil; so even before God called his name he let people know what he thought and was not ashamed of it.
I can’t remember exactly when it happened but I would say about four years ago. The church we attended unto his death and I still go to he came up to me in the cafeteria. See at the time the church was meeting in one of the middle school; in fact, I attended that school in seventh and eighth grade. Phil said that he had a word from God for me. He said that he didn’t know the circumstances but that something dramatic happened in my life when I was four years old, and that God on purpose had me not remember anything from that age and earlier. Phil was right on when I was four years old I was burned by cooking an egg on the stove, and my pajamas caught on fire. My sister was nearby and called out to my mother who came and smothered me with a blanket. My dad then rushed me to Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma where I was at four six weeks. If my sister had not been nearby the chances are pretty great that I would not be alive today; it truly was a miracle. I am sure Phil spoke into a lot of other people’s lives during the years of being a Christian.
I have been thinking of hope a lot since Phil’s memorial service. The greatest gift we have is love, and going along with faith and hope. I believe now that without hope neither love and faith work at all. You can say it is like the Holy Trinity the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirt you must have all three.
So I salute to you my old friend Phil. I will miss you greatly like all your friends until we meet you again. In the meantime when I need some hope I say to myself in the circumstance what would Phil say to me.