Monday, July 6, 2009

My Strong Friend Tom

One of my family's closest friends from Pittsburgh is the Lampone family.  Tom was in gymnastics as a kid & when he joined the football team in High School, he out-lifted everyone on the team, having never lifted a weight before in his life.  Legend has it that as a running back, he LOOKED for people to hit!  I worked for Tom and his construction company for two summers, so did my brother a few years later.   The practical feats of strength he performed on the job were jaw droppingly record breaking.  He's a man who loves life, his family and his God like few I've ever seen.  

Six years ago he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the doctors say that they have never seen anyone fight the disease like he has and by all counts, he should no longer be living.  But he's a fighter physically, emotionally and spiritually like none other.  

I visited him at home yesterday with my Parents, brother, wife and boys and his physical strength has all but failed him...but amidst the tears and laughter was The Hope (assurance and knowledge!) that we will see him again!  What a Hope we have in Christ!  Tom said he'd be waiting for us at the gate and Nick (my brother) and I told him that the next time we see him, we want is 70's afro back, with a full 80's beard!   It felt like the end of Lord of the Rings when Frodo leaves for distant shores, and his companions are sad because they will miss him...but they KNOW the reunion will come!  

We can tend to lump Heaven in with fairy tales.  But fairy tales are only a shadow of Heaven.  "This is not where it's just where it begins."   

Tom is holding on to his family for a little bit longer, and if God chooses not to heal him in this world, you can best believe he's gonna be stronger than any ox in the next...and if that's the case, he'll be talking face to face with Jesus very soon.  And I'm just a little jealous. 


baylormum said...

What a glorious testimony! If only we could get past that sadness part and remember the glory that awaits! It's not that I forget it, but life on this Earth is so precious & fleeting. It is sad to lose a loved one under any circumstance. I don't just want the "fairy tale". I want all Heaven has to offer. Thanks for the reminder. :)
Plus, he saw one more Stanley Cup come home to Pittsburgh!

Jake T. said...

Tom certainly embodies the "live strong" motto.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Tunafish said...

Great song :) I really liked it. I hope that when the Lord has chosen to meet him in person that those around Tom will be understanding. I just recently finished the second book in Randy Alcorn's Deadline series called Dominion. It has little sections where the setting is of Heaven and everyone is together, joyful in their Lord's presence. Alcorn doesn't give much detail for he can't. He cannot possibly know and be able to tell all of the wonderful things awaiting us at Home. Can't wait to get there. Kinda funny that I'm talking about this because last night my family did a devo on Philippians 1:21-30 where Paul is talking about what his reaction would be if GOD chose for him to be executed or if GOD chose for him to live and go strengthen the church in Philippi. Either way he would be able to see how they were doing and meet them. But in a better place, at a better time- in the Master's home. Paul writes with such wonderful... understanding and foundational truth. Praise GOD for the books Paul wrote for us. Jesus loves you! :)

Anni said...

Heard this story on KLove this am and linked to your blog... what an encouraging friend and hope you share!

Saying a prayer this morning.

Tracy said...

I just wrote a big long post and I was logged in as my hubby and then it got erased...I think. Anyway, long story short...just saying how neat it was that your friend said he would meet you at the gate...what a testimony to his faith in Christ.

Also said that I loved your new song today. Everytime you leak a song I say it is my favorite...also...should you be burning candles in your living room...sorry had to say it.

anonymous me said...

Difficult times bring out our true selves, I think. Your friend sounds like an amazing person. Loved the song this
morning. I will pray for all of those affected by your friend and his illness.

Aaron Shust said...

Thanks for your comments guys...I told Tom's wife that KLOVE did the story! how cool!

if you are interested, you can go to my profile and the Lampone's blog is one of the ones I follow. Patty gives updates.