Hope this is a day filled with joy…
filled with thanks for all God gives…
filled with praise for all that He is…
filled with the peace Jesus promised us…
As He said, “Peace I leave you! My peace I give you…”
It’s gonna be a great day!
Even tho’ it’s just a little tougher for us Oak Ridgers today as we move about town.
We could drive just a little faster today (since we don’t have to watch out for him), but we’ll be driving just a little slower (because we won’t be seeing him)…
I’m gonna miss Dimitri.
“Chello, my young friend!!” he’d yell at me.
When we used to have an office in Jackson Square, he’d stop in almost daily, during one of his interminable walks. (He used to walk a few hours starting before sun-up and a few hours every afternoon and evening, he’d tell me) Often he was bare-chested and bare foot, offering me old bread he’d gathered from the Soup Kitchen, or buckeyes that he’d distribute in the halls and even rooms of the hospital…
(“Dimitri, why don’t you become a volunteer at the hospital?” I asked him once. “Too many rules! You have to wear shirt…You have to wear shoes…”)
And he’d freely offer advice about so many subjects!
“I’m writing a book called, ‘Religion As a Way of Life’ because religion should change how you live your life…”
Because he was Greek, born and raised there until he came to the University of Minnesota in 1955 at age 21 (where he got a Ph.D in engineering!), I used to ask him things about the Greek words of the New Testament and then I’d just wait for the gems I’d collect.
“ ‘Give us our daily bread’…’Epiousios’ doesn’t mean ‘daily’. It means what we need for life…just the necessities we need for life…like me! I am healthy! I have food! I can walk all day!!”
“Dimitri, what does ‘fear of God’ mean?”
“ ‘Phobos’ (the Greek word for fear) does not mean ‘I am afraid of God’ No! I am not afraid of God. In my country, it’s the word that is written on high current electrical wires and railroad crossings. ‘Be careful! Pay attention!’ With God…Attention! Be careful!”
Kind of sounds like Mr Beaver.
“ ‘Safe? Aslan, safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ ”
Once, he brought me a set of LPs of Greek Orthodox worship to listen to. He often would spend Saturday nights listening to them..
Sometimes, because of his unique and honestly, eccentric ways, I never knew if I was really connecting with Dimitri in any real way. We would talk about trusting in Jesus loads of times and I would wonder what he was really hearing. Then one day, I just happened to see him in the Civic Center parking lot as I was going into the library. He was talking to a man in his 30’s maybe…
He called me over.
“Chello, young friend! Come over here! Let me introduce my family to you! This is my son. He has a wife and kids in Atlanta. He is an engineer there…”
“Who knew?” I thought.
Turning to the man, he said, “And this is my friend! He has a lovely wife and four wonderful kids…”
“Wow! He does listen to me!” I thought!
“Dimitri! How you doin’ today?” I’d always ask.
“Super duper!”, he’d always say, adding a little Greek dance with his answer.
With all the joy Jesus gives…
With the peace that He has promised to leave us…
With all “the necessities we need for life"…
If someone asks you today how you’re doing…
will you answer, “Super duper!”?
Will you do a dance?
So long, friend. We’ll miss you.