Story time: Reconnected

I will never forget the time an old friend came to mind randomly as I sat at my desk at work. I worked for a medical office and I did patient care via phone. One day I received word of a patient that needed a phone call about a particular issue. So, the first thing I did was enter the patient’s name into the database, and as you can imagine this particular individual had a somewhat common name and because of this there were many people that pulled up in the database. This is obviously nothing unusual, and happened most of the time when I entered someone’s name into the computer. This time, however was a little different because at the top of the list, I found someone that I knew and who I have not seen in many years. This man had become a great friend, but because of his circumstances and his health, I knew that he had become functionally homeless (going from hotels to eventually a short term nursing home).

The line on the computer stood out to me, and I made a mental note that I was going to try to find him and reconnect. I decided to spend some time later calling around to different hospitals because I just had this feeling deep inside that he was not okay. Oddly enough, the first call I made was to a hospital I remember him going to years before for a rather minor issue. Sure enough, I found out that he was at that hospital at the time that I called. So, I decided I was going to use a day off to go visit him. It was going to be a wonderful surprise, and in my mind I thought I was going to walk in to a situation in which he was watching television and eating Jell-O as anyone would be doing in the hospital. This was not exactly the case for my friend. He was a very large man and needed a custom breathing apparatus to make sure his body received enough oxygen. The medical technician had already struggled with fitting his breathing mask on him for nearly 2 hours. I walked in to both of the arguing about the comfort of the device. When he finally saw me, he began to weep.

No one knew how bad he was doing, and no one knew he was in the hospital. He had lost connection with most people that he loved and outside of his children, he felt as if people had forgotten about him. He was so excited to see me that he ripped off his mask that was giving him oxygen, just so he could talk to me. This nearly send the medical technician into a fit of rage because of the long hours he had already put into the project. He stormed out of the room, and while I felt sorry for him, this did give my friend and I the chance to reconnect. I sat with him and talked for a few hours, and we laughed, cried, and shared memories. He told me about how he was estranged from nearly everyone he knew, and the fact that he no longer had a phone, it was very difficult to keep in contact with people.

My friend had no money, and the one thing that he wished he had at the time was a Bible to read. I told him I would get him one to read from the hospital gift shop. Unfortunately they did not have large print so I promised him I would get him a new Bible the even had his name engraved in it. He nodded and smiled. I then left. It was such a sweet time together.

My friend died in his sleep a couple weeks after I visited him in the hospital. I couldn’t believe it because I never knew he was that close to death when I saw him.

I realize now that it was God who prompted me to reconnect. I am glad I listened.

-Landon DeCrastos

Living As If Dead

When you ponder deeply in your mind
Soon, you will inevitably find
The world has always been far behind
Christ’s kin; a step ahead

Before you object, please let me explain
Because all you see on this human plane
Disobedience, strife, trauma and pain
And children going unfed

These indicate another day
One that is defined by decay
Before the king had His way
And conquered through the blood He shed

When you think about all we see
Constant struggle within humanity
It makes perfect sense to me
That we often reject where we are led

The day I mean is in the past
One that the devil hoped would last
The king came and won at last
And put this fight to bed

The problem many do not understand
Is they live in a time and land
One that they build with their own hand
The fight still rages in heart and head

We are so addicted to our ways
And the sin that takes up our days
Victory is won, but we are still in this phase
Of living as if we are dead

So, reject what your heart tells you
That all is lost and you will always be too
That this old kingdom still reigns anew
And accept the one who bled.

-Landon DeCrastos

The Planet

This poem is based on a bedtime story I told my children….

Let me introduce you to a planet
Made up of two races
One made of lava
The other with rocky bodies and faces

These two groups
Have a long standing fight
That has lasted for years
Each group believed they were right

No one really knew
How the ancient quarrel started
Just that one time they were unified
And now they were parted

Old Legends told
of a race long ago
A peaceful nation
Who had a glossy glow

Day after day
The two people groups would meet
On the battlefield to fight
Chanting “war” rhythmically to the beat

In the heat of battle
The two groups would clash
The matches would be quick
and would be done in a flash

One day a strange man
Came from over the hill
And met the two groups
Who both were ready to kill

This man seemed different
He had a smooth and rocky look
He shine was brilliant
Everyone’s attention he took

Somehow he stopped the commotion
The groups stopped to hear
He yelled “HALT!” at full blast
He gained everyone’s ear

This man had an idea
One that may do the trick
He knew it sounded crazy
But they had nothing else to pick

He told them to form two lines
Each facing the other team
Then told them to embrace
No matter how unnatural it seamed

With frowns and complaints
The first few locked arms
Then something amazing happened
That caused them no harm

Both groups transformed
And changed to something new
And looked like this strange man
Shiny like morning dew

This was the race
Of the stories from before
The peaceful obsidian race
They heard about in lore

Then immediately
All in attendance complied
Both groups came over
to the other groups side

Putting down their weapons
And finding common ground
Both sides were transformed
And enduring change was found

The moral of the story
If you cannot see
Is that sometimes acceptance
Can change you and me.