I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun. - Charles R. SwindollToday I got the news that one of my handful of friends had left this world this morning and gone on to take his place in God's heavenly Kingdom.
I first met William Dillon on a September afternoon in 1982. I had just arrived at Bible College at Mattersey Hall, been dropped off by my mum and dad, and feeling alone and a little apprehensive about what was to happen next.
This guy with a broad Irish accent sat down on my bed and started to talk. That was the start of a friendship that would last till today.
I was proud to stand with him as best man on his wedding day and even prouder when he returned the honour in mine.
And man did we have laughs. His turn of phrase brought a smile to my face. I can still here him say with a twinkle in his eye:
"If you can't be good be careful"
"Would you risk it for a biscuit? What would you do for a packet?"
One night while bunking off the Wednesday night college service we visited a night club which was based in an old church that had been converted.
The next morning William was preaching in the students early morning service. He recounted the story about this church that had been turned into a night club without mentioning the fact that we had both been inside it. Then in his Irish brogue said a phrase which was forever associated with him: "Friends the world is creeping into the Churches?"
He was a great preacher and his favourite book from the Bible was always Jonah. He called him The Reluctant Prophet. One of his quotes was:
"Jonah went down to Joppa, he went down into the boat, he went down into the bottom of the boat, He went down into the sea, he went down into the belly of the fish. Friends when you are running from God its a downward path. Only when he looked up and called up did he come up."There have been huge twists and turns along the journey for both of us but we both had unconditional love and support for each other along the way.
Maybe one of the funniest things is that for two quite opinionated, red blooded argumentative Celts is that we never had a cross word of disagreement between us.
He would rib me continuously for what he thought was my crazy theology. But hey William you have probably now found out I was right all along.
Words really cannot express what you meant to me William. You made a mark in my life that runs very deep and I am forever grateful.
No man is a failure who has friends - Clarence Odbody (Its a wonderful life)You had many and I am proud to be one. Till we meet again.