Numbers Dave

Close to 100 people attended his funeral at First Baptist Church in Waterloo. He had had about ten months of really critical condition with cancer in the intestine. His foster parents Jim and Ruth Ann Reist thought that they were going to lose him last November and here it is September of the year following. He was only thirty-five.

My family had lived in his neighbourhood for eleven years and we had struck up an acquaintance with Dave Faulkner walking , on the bus, at the corner store, at the malls, at the Dairy Queen. He was quick to engage in conversation, monotone voice, slightly blunted affect, socially awkward, child-like in ways. But sincere, without guile, giving honest friendship, loyal to his Christian upbringing and Church family.

Occasionally I would hear of a part-time job, perhaps a girlfriend, numerous foster-care siblings, a Jewish mother and sisters somewhere in the U.S., numerous R.V. trips to warm, exotic places. Dave had an uncanny aptitude with arithmetic and memory and particularly birth days of acquaintances. If once he learned your birthday he would never forget it. "So now, Doug, you are are fifty-five, right? April 6th, 1951." "Hi Doug, how was your birthday? April 6th, 2007 and fifty-six now, eh?"

I remember one occasion early in our acquaintance when traveling on the bus I observed Dave being harassed by a couple of teens. The alpha teen was joking about Dave's up-front testimony for Jesus and smirking at his apparent handicap. At a certain point I drew the line and stepped in and took a strip off this other youth. I confirmed Dave's words from John 14 about Jesus the one way, truth and life. Immediately another handicapped passenger piped up with Gospel support and a little Oriental college student went into her purse for a tract. Revival, right there on the bus. At the funeral we heard other accounts of Dave's willingness to give a word about Jesus and about lives changed.

Several months ago his foster father had a discussion at the hospital with him about funeral arrangements. No anger. No fear. He realized it had to be addressed. More recently his options were reviewed. Palliative care and repeated surgeries adding only months to his life, or a program to go more quickly to be with the Lord. Dave promptly chose the latter. One of his chosen songs for the funeral was "Blessed Assurance" written by Fanny Crosby, a blind woman. One of the lyrics anticipates Heaven, "Visions of rapture now burst on my sight." Gone the handicap.

Sometimes God does a "quick work". Dave was an assayer of the mettle of those he met, in sensitivity, in patience, in candour, in open-faced friendship, in good humour. He loved to walk great distances around the twin cities and he met and engaged with many. He gave testimony to staff and fellow patients at the hospital.

Interestingly Dave was brought up in a conversation with good friends last Sunday evening. They have a part-time business washing windows for coffee shops and other clients. They would often chat with Dave, and they could identify many of his interesting characteristics. Unknown to us all, Dave died that very evening. Wednesday Hilary and I read the obituary.

I hadn't crossed paths with Dave for around eighteen months. Had I known...

Released, free in essence, new marching orders, much to learn, much joy, near his Best Friend.

Salute, Dave...See ya.


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