Long ago, when I was a starving art student in Chicago, my small circle of Filipino friends, all faith brethren, and I would treat ourselves to teeny burgers in a place called White Castle.
Back then, it was the cheapest burger joint in town—open 24/7.
With these friends I attended the church service and Sunday school every week. One of us, Cito, had an excellent ear for music, composed gospel songs, and played the guitar. He initiated our forming a singing group, which we forgot to name (or was there a name that I can’t remember?).
This tightly-knit group with a limited repertoire would be invited to sing in suburban churches. At night, on our way home, we’d drop by White Castle.
As life would dictate, the road forked and we went on separate ways, hearing from each other only intermittently. I came back home to get married and live here for good.
Fast forward to 2016.
We heard that Esoy had a massive stroke, with 70% of his brain affected, the left side of his body paralyzed, and his speech impaired. He was in ICU for weeks.
So when Tony and I made our sentimental trip to Chicago, our first act was to visit him.
I held his hand and he surprised me with a grip so tight I thought my bones had cracked. The image that popped in my head was White Castle. I asked him, “Hey, do you remember White Castle?”
He smiled, teared up, and whispered what sounded like “yes.” These were first-time feats, surprising even his wife. It was a grand grace moment.
I spoke into his ear about our White Castle days and I could feel his hand grasping mine even more tightly. He smiled, mouthed some phrases, and his eyes told us he was latching on to those memories.
Medical science tells us that Esoy is not likely to recover fully. Well, science does not know everything. We reserve our questions for the One who has all the answers.
But for now . . .
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2