By Byron and Michell Porisch
Communicating in words with Byron is one of our biggest challenges. Sometimes, “yes” means “no,” and “no” means “yes.” Some days it can be a very frustrating and tricky to figure out what Byron is really trying to say.
So when Pastor Justin asked if we could write down what Byron would like to say to St. Luke at this time I was hesitant… You mean, you want me to write down what I think Byron would say! It was a tall request!
In most relationships, I have been told the woman uses many more words than the man. In our case, I believe Byron would be the one that used the most words. The man just loved to talk!
As I have contemplated what Byron would say to the St. Luke community, certain words and phrases have popped out. These are the kinds of things Byron can and does say. And they summarize what I think Byron would want to share with you, his faith family: “Be faithful,” “I didn’t know,” “I’m not finished yet,” and “Wow.”
The past few years at St. Luke were years of literally waiting for a pastor. In that time Byron clung to the Word to remain faithful. If I could paint a picture of how it would look, I see Byron as a tree planted by the river, receiving life from His Savior Jesus (Psalm 1:1-3).
He was juggling many hats and in the middle of unresolved conflict, but thankfully he was able to hear God say, “Be faithful.”And so to St. Luke, Byron would also say, “Be faithful. Be faithful to the God who gives you life and breath. Be faithful to the God who saves. He alone is worthy!”
“I didn’t know!”
We have received a large basketful of letters and cards and many Facebook messages and emails over the past six months. Serving as youth minister for 10 years at St. John’s in California, 10 years at Faith in Troy and now 13 years here at St. Luke makes a recipe for lots of friends and lives that have been touched. So many former teens have written about very specific incidents when Byron would simply take the time to listen, to understand, or just hang out.
As I read the stories, we were flooded with emotion and memories of people from other seasons in our lives, people whose lives have been changed from simple everyday encounters. Byron’s simple response was, “I didn’t know!” Of course, his hand was moving, along with a shake of the head, a smile or sometimes tears.
In the everyday events of life our God is working. We don’t always see or aren’t always aware of how He is shaping those around us as we live life in community. The busyness of life, and even life in ministry, can keep us from seeing the real fruit. But when our lives are planted by the living stream, fruit will be produced in God’s perfect time.
“I’m not done yet!”
Early on in his diagnosis Byron was able to say, “I’m not done yet.” Even now he is able to convey that same sentiment. That is true hope–knowing God still has a purpose in our lives no matter what the circumstances!
We had looked at RVs over the past couple of years dreaming about what retirement might look like. You all know how Byron loves to drive! We envisioned traveling the country visiting friends and relatives.
It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen…but…God continues to work. Instead of us going out on the road, those friends and relatives are coming to our home, allowing us to reconnect and encourage one another in love and hope.
I’m not certain of the future and what it looks like, but I know none of us are ever done if we have the Spirit of God living with in us.
Finally, Byron says, “WOW!” Exclamation point!
I read a card and a hand written note. WOW! To me, Byron is saying, “thank you!” To me, he is saying, “praise the Lord!” He is saying, “thank you, God! You are still there and you are still moving and active in my life.”
We worship and I hear WOW. In the morning as I get him out of bed and he moves his right leg on his own-WOW, I can still do it.
And of course, there is Byron’s favorite book of the Bible: Revelation. Many youth have sat in our home as they explored this wonderful scripture. Today Byron would remind his St. Luke family of the Lamb that was slain, the Lamb that was worthy to take the scroll and open its seals. The Lamb who purchased us for God, through his blood.
This Lamb is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise. And the Lamb at the center of the throne will be your shepherd; he will lead you to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from your eyes! WOW!