Brother John Part I
by Lisa Velez
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“Brother John” *(Part I)
August 29, 2005
By: Lisa Velez
I just asked my husband if it’s a “sin” to be afraid. I was actually surprised that he said, “No, it’s not.” I guess it’s when we take the fear too far until it consumes our very being and disrupts our way of life for no apparent reason.
I know my friend John would ask me, “Why?” if I were to tell him that I’ve been worried about him and his test results. Thank God his wife, Naomi understands. I guess one would have to be a woman to understand the emotions we go through for family and dear friends. Most men just give us that funny “look” when we’re acting too “girly.” One would think that should’ve been their main reason for marrying us to begin with, because we “are” girly. I don’t think we women will ever understand men. They’re all a part of God’s wonderful mysteries of life.
My friend John, who attends the same Church as I do, has been producing my first Christian CD since January of 2001. Sure it’s been taking a long time, but in God’s eyes, whether it takes ten years or twenty it’s all becoming the reality of His will, when He’s ready for it to take place. To John and me this project has seemed like it’s been taking forever and a day. Still, then when I look at it from God’s point of view, and how a million years to Him is but a blink of His eye, I figure, “Well, God knows what He’s doing, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.” Especially since John’s studio has become like a “safe haven” for me to run to when I’m down and need an uplifting laugh that makes me feel like I’m going to burst at the seems. I’m always happy that I usually remember to visit the “John” before I visit my friend with the same name.
One would say that it was a sheer “coincidence” how we all met.
I believe it was a Sunday night service, sometime around November of 2000 at our church and this soloist, who I had never heard of before walked up to the pulpit to sing God’s message. Yep, it was John all right. He sang a song called; “Jesus Changes Lives,” that had such a bouncy and fun feel to it. I felt instantly within me that the song had to be original, that the lyrics and music were all a gift from God to John’s pen and paper. The song especially touched me because I had been writing songs for a long time when I had heard John sing, and I remember it was right around the time I was still carrying around my knapsack filled with unrecorded lyrics I’d been writing over the years. John’s words to God were inspiring me, even at first listen to keep writing and sing for the Lord.
Well, one would also say, “As luck would have it…” but “luck” had “nothing” to do with what happened next.
After the service, my husband and I were walking in the “Welcome Center”, which is the big “entranceway” into and out of the church and all around it. It’s kind of built like a huge circle, where each point leads to the other. And who did I chance meet right outside our sanctuary walls? Well, you’re really good at this game if you’ve answered, “John” again. It was he and his entire family, his wife, two sons and beautiful little daughter. I told John instantly what a wonderful song it was that he sang, and I asked him almost right away if it was an original song because I’d felt it the whole time. Of course he said yes, and I knew I’d “hit the nail right on the head!”
John seemed to be a very quiet person upon first meeting. I introduced him to my husband and told him all about my “knapsack of lyrics” on my shoulders. And, just as John’s been doing for the almost five years that I’ve known him, he said something like, “Well they’re not doing you any good just lying around in that backpack.” Right away, he took out his wallet, handed me his card, explaining that he had a small music studio just outside his house, saying: “ Maybe we can work together.” My belly filled with butterflies at the thought of finally getting my music, God’s message to my own heart to share with the world, heard, at last! It was a dream just starting to come true.
And of course, like always, I worry too much because I hesitated upon calling John at first. I thought since his voice was always so, low in register, and how he had seemed to not talk too much, I thought maybe I’d just “bother him” if I called him and that maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should just throw the card away and pretend I’d never met him. That was my one shoulder-the enemy’s side.
Then came the Angel side from above that was telling me to “Go for it!” And that just because my Dad had a low tone to his voice and ended up being mean to me didn’t mean that everybody else was going to be too. And it also came to mind that if John really didn’t want to help me at all with my lyrics then he wouldn’t have given me his card. That was enough to convince even the “fraidiest of fraidicats!”
And the rest of those five years have been nothing short of a miracle in my life.
Since we started working on the CD, John and his wife and kids have become a special part of my husband’s and my life. We’ve become close friends and family under the blood of the Lamb, which unites anyone who believes. We’ve shared song ideas, laughs, jokes (especially those he crazily makes up about me), dogs, headaches-most of which I’m sure I’ve caused, buffet lunches and countless phone calls at 11 or so at night, just because they said I could. I’ve been able to share tears with John’s wife, Naomi over things that would’ve broken my heart had it not been for her pure love, support and understanding.
I came to realize that “Mr. John” was not as innocent and quiet as he looked. He turned out to be just a silly, middle-aged-big kid that everyone loves. I mean, how could anyone not love someone who picks up his pekingese who's growling at his guest-me-only to pretend to try to make the dog-Kito by name-bite me, all the while as he's laughing so hard he can't stand straight? You just gotta love him!
I quickly bonded with John and his family and held them in my heart wherever I went and still do. I thought (and still think) of them often, especially when I visited (back then and now) my own family. Whenever I’d hear (and still hear, unfortunately) my Dad yell and scream at my Mother and sister or me for hardly any reason at all and call us such hideous names, I would, and still do think of John and his family. Sure, John gets firm when he has to and raises his voice, but he never screams to the top of his lungs or curses at his wife and children, calling them every name under the sun. I began to envy what they had/have. No family is perfect, I know that for sure, but John showed to his family what my Dad usually never showed his own, unconditional love. My Dad still has yet to understand that it’s “not” the amount of money you spend on a person, but the “quality” (*not the amount) of time you spend loving those around you who need you the most. Life’s just too short to spend yelling and hurting everyone who’s trying to love you in the best ways they can, but are always found at fault for not being perfect.
When I need a laugh, I email John a “longgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg” email, but that’s okay, I know he enjoys those “books” I send him. I know that I’ll usually get a funny response in return, when he’s not being lazy about it that is. I’m learning to accept the fact that I type and email just like I speak, too fast and too much at times. I guess it’s because nice, loving and funny people have always captured my heart because it was always so hard to laugh growing up in a troubled home environment, especially when your own Dad would yell at you just for sitting around laughing with your own Mother just because he was jealous or watching some stupid TV show he couldn’t hear at the time, as if that was more important than spending time with us. But anyway…
So, as of lately, John and I haven’t been working on the CD too much. First with John’s busy schedule sometimes it’s even hard just to catch him outside of church to say a simple “Hello.” I’m surprised that he even has time to use the bathroom. Sometimes I think that he must be related to my husband, Ramon because they both run around like “chickens with their heads cut off,” much of the time. Oh God, protect my fine-feathered friends!
Another reason we haven’t been working on the CD is because John hasn’t been feeling too well lately. He’s had pains in his stomach when he eats and he at first thought it was just because something didn’t agree with him when he ate it. But, as time went on the pain didn’t subside. On certain days, it would feel “a little better” but it always came back.
Well, about a week or two ago, John went with Naomi to get some tests done, which I will choose to keep private to protect the privacy of my dear Brother. After a few days, the Doctor told John that he’d found a “growth” somewhere around his intestines and that he would have to do a biopsy, and that it would take about another week to get the final results.
When Naomi told me this, I felt my body freeze up almost as hard as a stone! I mean, I know always that God has everything under control and if we trust in Him He will make all things work out for the greater good and for His glory…Amen.
Still, when you love a friend or a family member that much, I know with my whole heart that God truly understands that we can’t help but be somewhat afraid, especially when someone means so much to us.
Today I called Naomi to find out how John was doing. She reminded me about the results coming in early tomorrow night and how she’s been so scared she started to cry the other day. Well, as soon as I hung up the phone that’s exactly what I did. I cried.
Like I said, when John himself reads this he’s going to ask that question he’s famous for, “Why?” Well, he’ll just have to learn to live with the fact that “yes” people do love him that much.
So anyway, as my eyes wandered from floor, to ceiling window, back to the floor, tears welt up in my eyes and just spilt on to my shorts. That’s okay, they needed a wash anyway…Just a little laugh to keep myself relaxed.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking positive, just as “Joel Osteen,” a preacher who pastors his own church out in Lakewood Texas, said about two weeks ago, one Sunday morning on TV. He said that the more we think negative, negative, negative, that’s all that’s going to come out of our lives. But if we think positive, and train our minds to do so, only good things can happen. He didn’t say that bad things will “never” happen, or that it would be easy. But he did remind us that with God everything has a purpose and works out for God’s glory even when we don’t see the light as we’re going through the dark tunnel.
John even thought he’d be funny the other day. I asked Naomi how he was doing over the telephone and I could hear him in the background going, “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die!” I was about to go there and beat him up when he saved himself by saying, “When I’m 100!” That joker! How’s that for being positive?
And so, with tomorrow evening just waiting in the wings, I too, wait in prayer for my friend, knowing that all I’m going to hear is a positive report when I call, or when Naomi calls me to tell me the news. As hard as it is and has been, I’m going to think positive, not only for my own nerves and sanity, but for John. What good will I do him and his own nerves if I freak out? After all, it’s his health, why does he need to worry more? Besides, “when” the tests come out “fine” each of us will kick ourselves and say, “Man, I worried needlessly over nothing.” But the Lord knows it’s one of the hardest things to ever do in every human being’s life, to stop worrying and hand everything over to God, and that’s what I do right here and now for everyone to see.
So, Lord, I hand my brother and friend, John over to you. May he be healed and touched from the top of his head to the very bottoms of his feet with your mighty healing power and strength. No evil has power over you, Father. And whatever this thing is inside John’s body may it be benign and cured in the mighty name of your son, JESUS, who makes all things new again. Please be with our dear, brother John, Lord, and his entire family, as we know that their minds must be twisting and turning with thoughts of their own, dear Father. We expect and wait for that wonderful report. Just as we sing that song in church, “Whose report will you believe?” “We shall believe the report of the LORD!” In Jesus’ precious and mighty name… Amen and AMEN! Hallelujah!
So, here I sit, positive, in the arms of Jesus, comforting me, praying for John and his family to come through this with a mighty and miraculous testimony of their own after all this is said and done with.
It’s about 2:50PM, and I wait for John’s test results, knowing that God is holding my brother in the best care possible…I have “Faith” and I “Know” that everything is going to be more than just all right.
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