My friend…

Cliff… I want to write so much more about him than this blog would ever afford me. I want to write, because I never want to forget… never. I never want to forget the lessons I learned from this wee Belfast man… the lessons about love, about hope, about struggle and addiction and humility and friendship and fellowship and joy and sadness and life…

And I don’t want to have to explain who Cliff is… I don’t want to have to give a background, name the date and place and circumstances in which we met. Because, to be honest, most of the few people who read this blog knew and loved him, and  no words that I can say about my relationship with him can or indeed should change who he was to you.

And I miss him. I really do. I miss seeing his toothy smile as he laughed with friends… I miss listening to him making up lyrics to songs he loved but didn’t quite remember. I miss having him tell me to look after the girls, to make sure they got home safe, to look out for their safety… I miss looking into those eyes, and seeing love look back out at me… I miss giving him a hug goodbye and feeling his leather jacket as I gave him the manly pat on the back…

Cliff’s hope and his existence were found in a bottle, when first we met. This man, who had done so much already in his life, who had studied, worked, married, had children, been involved in his church… this man who, due to various events and circumstances, had found himself on the streets of Belfast, was leading out his existence through booze and ciggarettes. And I doubt he ever thought it possible that he would touch the hearts of so many. This man, who caught a glimpse of love in action… who caught a glimpse of God in action, of God’s kingdom working… this wee man, who caught a glimpse of hope and dared to go after it… this man, uncle cliff, taught me about love. Taught me about hope. Taught me about humility. He taught me about grace, and showed me even the smallest glimpse of what can happen in this city.

Cliff was my friend. And it hurts, it really does hurt not being able to see him. It hurts, knowing that only when I follow where he has gone, will we likely see one another again. It hurts me… to know that my friend is gone from this earth. To know that no new memories will be made…

But I thank God, I praise Him for the time He granted us… for the time He blessed me and my friends with having our dear uncle cliff with us. For the lessons God used him to teach me… for the way God worked in mighty ways in and through my friend, even when he couldn’t see it. Thank you Lord for those times… thank you Lord for the memories, the precious memories that become all the more priceless in the knowledge that they now hold and represent this man that we loved so much… this man that You created, designed, used, and loved, deeply and passionately loved… this wee man from the streets of Belfast who became our friend, our brother, our family. Thank you, thank you Lord for Cliff. And please take good care of Him God… I miss him.

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2 Responses to “My friend…”

  1. Just found your blog searching for info about Foy Vance… and I’m enjoying your writing… but moreso… I’m praying for you.

  2. Sophie Mullen Says:

    mmm… phil. this post made me smile for a few moments. that toothy grin.. wow. he was special.

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