A Special Bond
Nobody suffered more than the Duck. Twins are linked together by a special bond. Ron and Don had separate identities, but they had so much in common that the fate of one seemed to be tied to the fate of the other.
A strong relationship between the two certainly existed. They were born prematurely, but the duo had spent six months in the womb together. Their lives had been intertwined since inception. They had the same acquaintances. They shared the same friends. They had ties to the same teachers. They had been in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. They were baptized on the same day. They had even worn identical clothes to school until they reached high school.
In the early high school days, Don helped Ron charm the girls. Ron was too shy to initiate a conversation with someone who lighted his fire. Don would phone the chosen one and say he was Ron. He would converse for awhile, and then he would adroitly fix Ron up with a date for Friday night. Ron could carry the ball from there. All he needed to know was that they would go out with him. Their willingness sparked his confidence.
They were the best of friends. This seems odd because they were different in so many ways. Even while pursuing vastly different courses of study at completely different types of universities, the pair remained inseparable. They maintained close contact. They were together every chance they got.
After the tragedy, Don experienced a bout with depression. He didn't bear the situation well. He suffered in silence. His pain was deep within his soul, and it was intense. As so often happened, physical ailment followed emotional and mental anguish. Wild Bill lovingly declared "There is nothing physically wrong with that boy. He's just missing his twin. He's grieving. That's it and nothing more."
After multiple tests at Harris Hospital and by a neurologist in Houston, it was determined that "Nothing that we know of is wrong with you." Who knows ? Maybe Wild Bill had been right. Maybe grief was the root cause of his problems. He would henceforth act on that premise. He would think about his physical maladies no more.
Abandoning Himself To Help Others
Jesus said, "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Don had been in the ministry since he was thirteen years old. Never had he abandoned self like he did now.
Don forgot about himself. All his time was spent on those who needed help. He visited the sick in their homes and in the hospital. He would stay at the hospital all night if someone was seriously ill, so that close family members could get badly needed rest. He provided a sympathetic ear to the bereaved, and he felt a genuine compassion for them. He would drive 300 miles on his day off to preach at a funeral. He pursued the unchurched with a vigor he had not demonstrated before.
Don was living the gospel twenty-four hours a day. He had no free evenings. He didn't watch ball games, so these were never a problem. If you required assistance at any time, day or night, he would be on the spot at a moment's notice. He even began to fix up homes, at no charge, for the elderly. He painted their homes. He put up new wallpaper in their living rooms and kitchens. He made decorating suggestions and assisted in implementing them.
As Don focused on the problems of others, his own physical problems gradually disappeared. One Sunday at lunch, as we gathered at the folks' house to eat Mom's pot roast and baked potatoes, the subject of Don's health was discussed. Only then did we realize that he was walking with a regular gait and without a limp. He moved from place to place just like a regular guy. The improvement had been so gradual that his total progress had eluded us.
Dad inquired, "Son, are you having any difficulty seeing ? Are the walls straight up and down, or are they leaning like that tower in Italy ? How are you doing ?" Don smiled as he gave us a good report. He wasn't seeing spots, and the walls didn't look like the belonged in the fun house at the carnival. His vision was fine.
Was his recovery a miracle ? Every day of life is miraculous. Every signal the brain sends is a wonder. Every time your heart beats, you are experiencing a phenomenon that is a miracle of creation. Life is a miracle. I'll tell you what was miraculous. Grandaddy started going to church. No, he didn't attend weekly. He went on the average of once a quarter whether he needed it or not. Now, that's a miracle.
Helping His Hurting Family
Don was a positive influence on Wild Bill. He listened to Don, and he acquired much respect for the boy. Don showered him with a lot of attention. That didn't hurt either. Granddad changed much during this period. He kept his language in check, although he still let loose an expletive on occasion. He seemed more compassionate and in control of himself.
Don was a gift to the family in our hour of need. Because he had hurts, I guess he understood our hurts. Just when you felt the lowest, and you were sure your heart was about to break, he would call with an encouraging word, or he would show up at our doorstep. He presented us with words of condolence and hope. "God is in charge. If Ron died he is in Heaven, and there is no pain in that celestial dwelling place. We will see him again. If he is alive, God will take care of him."
None of us could have made it through those troubled waters without his steadying influence. He buoyed our spirits. Negative thinking was impossible in his presence. After one of his visits, you believed that everything would ultimately work out, and God would see us through. We beheld the light emanating from Don's rising star. We followed it our of the dark wood in which we were lost. It took us twenty years to find our way out, but that's not too bad. Moses and the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
Don held the family together during our trials and tribulations. Out of weakness, he became our strength. We all leaned on him. The pain surfaces from time to time. We still think of Ron daily. Granny and Granddady have passed away. The folks are retired. Don is 48, and I'm 45 years old. Eternity seems much closer now than it used to seem. I'm not seeing life through the eyes of a 22 year old anymore.
In just a little while, we'll be reunited with our beloved Ron. You've got to have faith, and Don helped us find it by showing us how to live.