Saturday, August 30, 2008

Big Bob

A boy walked into the Beve's office the other day with his brother-in-law and his mom. This boy just moved here from Gillette, WY. Thrilled to be in our corner of the country of the tall timber, soaring mountains, and salt-water bay to the west. Of course they're thrilled, I mean, we all are.

This boy was actually lost, though Beve didn't know it at the time. He was intended for a different counselor, but it's a rather difficult school to find one's way around in for the uninitiated. Beve doesn't pay attention to whose name is on the top of the folder, he just takes whoever walks in his door. Invites them in to sit on his couch. He asked this new student to tell a little about himself, starting with what Beve should call him. "My family calls me Big Bob," the boy said. Beve smiled. "Big Bob it is, then," he said. Beve told Big Bob what kind of place he'll find Squalicum High School, how the teachers are kind and caring, how they'll go out of their way to be helpful and make Big Bob feel at home. Big Bob is a special kid with some learning disabilities, and a great heart. Beve could tell all that quickly. It really was a great conversation--brother-in-law, mom, Big Bob all sharing concerns, Beve reassuring them all, listening to what they said, what they were saying beneath their words. Big Bob's mom was thrilled, kept saying, "I think this will be a great place for my son."

Then Big Bob turned to his mom and said, "I think we should tell him," and she nodded. Then he told Beve that Mom is dying of metastasized lung cancer. It's in her brain now. They moved here so she could die and Big Bob would be with his brother, brother-in-law when she's gone. She might have only three more months, though who knows. Beve told them he understands. And he does--more than most people. Far more. Beve was in an ICU unit one bleak day with his sister when she received news of tumors in her brain. They cried hard together, thinking of her losing her life early, leaving her young son. Beve has lived what this family is living. He told them this. And he told Big Bob he can come and talk to him any time he needs to, that his door is always open.

It was a holy moment, that hour with this family, a moment so holy you're tempted to take your shoes off because you aren't the only ones in the room when you thought you were just a moment before. Suddenly God had come in and allowed Beve to enter into something much bigger than himself, schedules, all those things he can get caught up in. Allowed him to perform a priestly function, right there in his school office. I don't think he prayed with them, though he was praying every minute with his holy, sacramental words. But God was there, and it was good. It's why Beve loves his job, why he wouldn't do anything else.
And, I'm thinking, how amazing it is that God knew Big Bob needed the Beve, no matter the computer had said. I love that sometimes 'getting lost' means finding exactly the right person. It did for Big Bob.

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