I wanted this morning to tell you a bit about my friends dave and joann.
it just seems right, so that when I ask you to keep this family in your prayers, you will know something about who they are.
when we first moved to detroit as a young married couple, dave and joann were our first friends. we lived in an apartment complex with a dozen or so other newly marrieds, but d and j always stuck out as “our people”.
they were the first to reach out to us and the first to have us over. joann and I were both pregnant (with girls, it turned out), and we both had young sons already. so, our boys played together, we gestated, and *h and dave commiserated about their increasingly large and hormonal wives. it was an early-married’s match made in heaven.
we took turns having each other over for meals, and joann and I drove each other to doctor appointments. we had a lot in common as far as life experience and philosophy, so she was a blast to talk to, and our kids got along well. their son was my son’s first friend in the area, which was obviously pretty convenient for us 🙂
dave is older than *h and had more experience in the job world, so he was a good resource for us in that area. he is naturally patient and a great teacher, so he made a great mentor.
when their daughter was born 10 weeks before ours, they lent us their second car (we only had one at the time, and *h took it to work every day), but then let us keep it way past when joann could drive again, claiming that they didn’t really need it back yet, but knowing that it was helping us out a ton because *h was working two jobs and I needed to do a bunch of shopping before our baby came… this would be a recurring theme with them- putting themselves out, but saying that it was no problem and that you really were kind of doing them a favor, for whatever reason… but we didn’t realize that yet, so we happily kept the car a while longer and It made a huge difference to our sanity and the ease of preparing the house for our postpartum period. through their actions, they taught us a lot about the correct way to go about helping other people, and it was lesson we would put into practice many times, much to their credit…
and we weren’t the only people they did this type of thing for. time and time again I would find out, over the years, that they had lent or given money to someone in need. sometimes it was done as a friend, but just as often it was done anonymously, so that the person who was going through a hardship wouldn’t feel embarrassed that their friend had to bail them out. births, illnesses, and hard days were often met with care packages of small thoughtful treats from j and d- because that’s how they are. even when times are not easy for them, they are the ones who think of other people.
and things are not easy for them.
their oldest son has had many challenges over the years. some of their younger sons have health problems. joann has chronic pain and dave has such severe sleep problems that some days he can barely function.
but there they are, always available for their friends, willing to lend an ear and sit for hours giving support and encouragement.
I can’t tell you how many people have used their couch as a therapy sight. j and d have logged more hours as couples counselors than some people in private practice. sometimes joann would tell me about someone in crisis they spent time with and I was like, “wait, didn’t you just pull them out of crisis?” (you couldn’t keep track because she would never tell you anyone’s name; she always protects people’s privacy) and she would say, “no, that was a different person…” because, yeah, they are like that.
they draw people to them because of their kindness and their openness. they don’t turn people away and other people can sense that they will be accepted by j and d, even with all of their quirks and weirdness.
the schools like j and d because they are involved parents. their kids know that they will go to bat for them and advocate for them, but they don’t do it in that obnoxious pushy way that some parents do. in fact, the principal of one of the schools remained one of joann’s closest friends for many years, so that tells you something. dave is articulate and educated, with clear expectations for the schools and for his kids. his oldest is an academic superstar, and I think it has a lot to do with his inspiration and guidance. I think if he had more time over the years he probably would have been invited to be on the school’s advisory board…
the thing that most people think of when they think of dave is his general kindness. he will open a door for you, or carry your groceries or help you with a problem. he will put himself out for you, but he does so many things under the radar and without public acknowledgement that its hard for me to list things because most of the big things he does are in secret. but I know he does them, and that’s the mark of a true hero. in fact, it is this trait that the family hopes will create a positive chain of events in his merit. they have asked people that, when they do a kindness for other people, no matter how big or how small it is, that they think about dave and try to generate some positivity in his honor. whether you believe in divine mercy or karma or positive energy or none of the above, it is a very worthwhile endeavor to engage in. you are doing good things anyway, so why not give some up for dave?
I am asking you, here and in public, to please pray for him and his family, and to spread his name around. as I said at the end of the last post, he is very very sick. he has lung cancer; it is stage 4 and it has spread. the situation is grave, but no situation is ever hopeless. I believe very much in the power of prayer; this might not be your thing, and I can totally respect that, but if not prayers, then maybe you can do something else. at this stage, we will take anything 😉
he has a wife and kids, many dear friends, and now loads of people spread throughout the world thanks to the power of social media and cyberspace. I have sent emails to some of my friends, but as the situation gets worse, I want to kick it up a few notches, so I am asking you to please kick it up too.
can you take out a few minutes?
for those of you into it, his Hebrew name is chaim dovid reuven ben chana rochel.
for everyone else, just do something in your own way for dave.
i’ll thank you in advance because i’m sure it will make a difference.