Chuck Asked Me to Pray For Him
My friend, Chuck Hampton asked me to place him on my prayer list last year. The year was just 21 days old. It was early in the morning. I had had my coffee and was running through my Facebook newsfeed as I often do before sitting down to write. I check my newsfeed like some people may check through their mail from the post office. I want to get a glance at what news may have come in over night before getting down to the serious business of writing.
On January 21st last year, I was surprised to see an inbox message from Chuck Hampton. Chuck and I often spoke to one another on his or my public Facebook page, but seldom in private. So I was particularly interested in what he had to communicate that morning. His message was brief and to the point:
“Michael, please add me to your prayer list, but please don’t identify me on Facebook. Thanks a million, my friend.”
Many people throughout the world write and ask me to pray for them. I am not sure if I know why people have placed this type of faith in my ability to reach the Divine. I know that one of the best things that we can do for anyone is to pray for them. So I do.
What struck me about Chuck’s prayer request is that he ended it with “Thanks a million.” as if he had the assurance that I would not deny his request.
I immediately wrote back:
“It’s done, Chuck and only between you, me and our Creator.”
And, while he lived it was.
Then I prayed that all issues in Chuck’s life would be resolved and that he would enjoy his life to the fullest. For over a year, he enjoyed his friends, family and grandchildren. I smiled each time I saw a posting of him at the beach with his grand kids, or on the sidelines cheering Elizabeth in one of her races, or at his favorite neighborhood pub enjoying oysters and beer.
Now all issues are resolved. He has put on his immortal body where there is no more pain, no more issues, just the eternal knowing that he did what he came here to do. He showed family and friends how to love. And now it’s finished and on to new horizons.
This weekend, Cyn and I journeyed to New Hope, Pennsylvania where Chuck’s family had gathered to remember him and to find comfort in his absence. I had hoped to pay a visit while Chuck was on this side but did not get to do it. I thought I might be imposing on his time and did not want to interrupt his daily routine to have to entertain me for a few hours. I regret not following my first mind.
Cyn and I met Chuck’s wife Pat, his sisters Sue and Cynthia and his brother Dave. Also, we met his son Chaz and his daughter Elizabeth. I am Facebook pals with Sue and Elizabeth. We were brought together by Chuck.
Chuck’s wife and sisters kissed me on the lips, not in a romantic fashion, but sisterly, brotherly. Chuck had told Sue that he had asked me to pray for him. Sue was concerned about Chuck’s soul and he assured her that Michael was praying for him.
Several family members told me that Chuck often talked about me to them. Ours was a true friendship and a testament to the power of the internet to connect people around the globe.
In our private conversations and some of the public ones, Chuck and I often talked issues of faith. He would tell me that it was not that he did not believe in a power in the universe that sets the tempo of life, he just did not know for sure. I told him I was sure there is an order to the universe that is directed by a central source and although humankind may differ on the terminology used to express this substance, it nevertheless exists.
Unlike some of my social media friends who deny the existence of this “something,” Chuck was not resistant to listening. He was open to the possibility that God is. His parents were good salt of the earth Presbyterians who made sure their children were in church on Sunday mornings. As Chuck grew older he began to question the rationality of believing in the unseen. Yet he turned to me, an untrained metaphysical scholar, for answers on issues of faith. I believe Chuck had clarity on this subject before he set out to sea.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.
Micheal, just reading your post assures me that your’re floored with the impact that you had on Chuck.
In a small way I hear regrets. Women has intuitions. Men, well?
Add my family to the pray list too.
Cynthia, thanks for your comment. I have no regrets. I enjoyed the online time I spent with Chuck, but I would not be honest if I did not also say, I wish I had flown up to meet him. You and your family have been on my prayer list since we met several years ago. Be blessed.