This post has absolutely nothing to do with discourse grammar or Greek, at least not directly. There have been four mentors in my life whose influence has enabled me to do the projects I’ve worked on at Faithlife. I learned this morning that one of them, Wayne, is now with the Lord after an eight-month battle with cancer.
I dedicated my forthcoming High Definition Commentary: James to him to capture the blessing it’s been spending time with him over the years. His problem-solving and relational skills have been a huge influence on how I do scholarship. He could simplify almost anything for those without a technical background. The book dedication seemed a fitting tribute, something I hoped he’d be able to hold in his hands (Yes, Lexham Press does print books too!)
I had meant to go visit Wayne and tell him about his impact on me before he moved back to Nebraska, but there never seemed to be time to drive 90 minutes to see him. When I heard about his cancer diagnosis I wanted to drop everything and hop a plane, but once again the busyness of life got in the way. Preparations for the Greek verb conference at Tyndale House, Cambridge in July, family vacation in August, and another conference in September made it impossible to make a trip before late fall.
In late June, while walking back from dropping off my car for an oil change, I decided to give Wayne a call instead of waiting. It felt weird telling him about something that wasn’t published yet, as though I wasn’t expecting him to make it. Nevertheless, I poured out what was in my heart about his influence. I finally just sat down on the curb to make the conversation last longer than what should have been a 15 minute walk. I really thought I would see him again, but nothing was left unsaid for either of us. We talked for about 45 minutes.
I read the email about Wayne’s passing today with a mixture of sadness and joy. Sad I wouldn’t see him again until I joined him or the Lord returns, but joyful that I had told him what he meant to me. It was well worth the discomfort of curb-sitting and the initial awkwardness. There is sadness, but no regret.
Who are the people who’ve impacted you? Who’s on your list to thank? What are you waiting for? Take the time and initiative. Make sure that they do not become someone you “would have liked to thank!” Everyone needs encouragement, and there’s nothing more encouraging than hearing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life; or knowing that you were able to tell them. Carve out time; make the trip. Give them the honor of hearing it.