Opposites attract they say. I always pitied Beth a little for that. She put up with a lot
Beth was a nice quiet person. Calm and composed. Not someone seeking the spotlight. I never asked what attracted her to Dave.
Dave was one of the most exuberant people I have ever met. He wasn’t just the life of the party, he was the party. In my late teens and early 20s Dave loomed larger than life.
It must be 15 years since I saw him last. I know that because the death notice in the newspaper said that Beth had predeceased Dave, dying in 2003. I hadn’t known that. I have difficulty imagining Dave without Beth. I do know she was with him the last time I saw them, at a Good Friday church service at Ottawa’s First Baptist Church.
It may be his laugh I remember most. Deep, full bellied laughter that you could hear I am sure from the next planet. When Dave was in the vicinity everyone knew it. Beth seemed somewhat shyly taken aback by the whole thing, but there was no doubt of their deep, abiding love. Sometimes she appeared to be embarrassed when he got really noisy, but most of the time she just went along with the flow.
I can’t quite put my finger on what made Dave special for me. He was a church youth leader or youth sponsor (I don’t remember or don’t know if he had a formal title) but we went to different churches. I only encountered him when young people from the different Baptist churches got together. (Yes, the truth is out. I was raised Baptist.) I think that meant once every month or so.
So we didn’t have the frequent interaction that would have me think of him as my mentor. Though in many ways I guess he was. I knew Dave would always be there if I needed him. I knew he cared. He and Beth didn’t have children; they poured themselves into others.
He certainly was an example and an inspiration. He was a reminder that Christians come in all shapes and sizes and that we are all supposed to be joyful.
That last time I saw him he and Beth were several rows in front of us during the church service. Afterwards there was a crowd around them, as always, but I decided to wait for a chance to speak with him alone.
It had occurred to me when I saw him that when I was younger I had never expressed my gratitude, I had just taken him for granted. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I do remember telling him that I just wanted to say “thank you,” that I so appreciated his example for all those years. Then I left. I never saw Dave and Beth again. Looking back, I am so glad I said what I did at that time.
If I may be so bold, I’d like to challenge you today to do something special. Think of someone who has been influential in your life. Now say thank you to them. In person if you can, but if they are far away there is always the telephone, text, email, Facebook or a dozen or more modern methods. You will brighten their day.
You never know if you will have another opportunity. Don’t wait until it is too late.