Bye John

Bye John


It was just last Saturday, a week ago, that I visited my longtime friend, Ray Willkie.  It was for the last time in this life… 


He and I and his wife, Sue visited for a good period of time, but not too long, since it is not good to wear sick people down with too much talking.  However, we spoke of some old time events, like the time we were on a golf trip to Terre Haute, Indiana and we were doing some shopping in a golf store.  My rain suit had “shrunk” and I decided I needed to purchase another one.  I could not find one to fit, so a nice girl who also plays golf that we knew who worked there volunteered to “measure” me for a rain suit.  Ray and the guys with us had never heard of such a thing as being measured for a rain suit.  However my legs are short and I have a hard time finding pants for my 28” inseam.  Apparently it took longer to get measured for the rain suit than my buddies expected, so I got a good kidding about it, even there with the girl present, and she piped, up to tell them that it was no business of theirs what we were doing at that eventJJ


We always were joking about things like that.  Ray, was sometimes known to voice some prejudicial feelings and we sometimes bantered that around a little bit, with my disagreeing with him and telling him how much I personally loved black people.  One time I facilitated the event of his feeling a black girl who was a waitress for us arm muscles.  I doubt I could convince Michelle Obama on that one thoughJJ  Really, deep down, he had a kind heart, although he sometimes tried to be the tough guy around his peers.  It was for Ray and I that I invented the game, “6 Par.”  You can read of that game on my blog site at


Ray knew I used to be a pastor, and asked me to pray for him after he found out he had cancer.  I and David Jones prayed for him and anointed him with oil and asked for his healing.  I feel he was given several more months to live.  He regularly asked me to pray for him when I visited.  I was happy to do so.  The time before last, I spoke to Ray about the resurrection and gave him some audio CDs of Ray Stedman speaking about the resurrection from the passages around 1 Corinthians 15.  I do not know if he felt like listening to them or not… 


In our last prayer together, I mentioned how God can do anything he wants, to heal, or to allow one to die, and I asked Ray if he was OK with that.  He said he was OK…  When I left, I did not hear his words exactly, (I am hard of hearing), but Sue, his wife, spoke up to tell me Ray was saying something.  I looked back at Ray lying on his hospital bed set up in their home, and Ray lifted his hand up and waved, “Bye John.”  I said “Bye Ray, I will see you later.”  I briefly wondered if that would be in this life.  Ray died this past week.  I will not see him again in this life.


Now what?


What happens when one is fully conscious, intelligently speaking, reasoning, and aware mentally, and the body shuts down?  No one has yet found physical evidence of this Spirit of awareness that seems to be a part of, but not all of us as human beings.


Some say the Spirit goes up, some say it goes down.  Some say one goes immediately into heaven, some say there is a period of sleep.  Some say one suffers in Purgatory for their sins until cleansed of unrighteousness, and others say it is 100% Grace by which people are saved.  Some say people go to hell to suffer forever and ever more…. Some say only a few are saved, even though they would also say Jesus draws all men unto himself.  Some say all will eventually be saved…..  Some say there is no God, and none are saved and death is the end.  The End….


I know enough of fire and ice to “prove” from certain Scriptures most any of those views, excepting the no God view…  I will pass on that… and pass on “proving” anything, for that matter.  Except to still wonder….


Where is Ray’s Spirit?  Where is Ray?


Perhaps a better question would be for us, the living.  Where is our Spirit? Where are we? Where am I in relationship to life and eternity?  Where are you?


Bye now, see you later…


John Cooper

Tuscaloosa, AL

About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: