Thoughts

Jesus And Keith

Eleven years ago tonight I was sitting in a hospital waiting room in Wichita Falls, Texas, with my mind whirling and spinning like a plane in a spiral nosedive. My good friend, Keith Layne, was lying comatose in the next room fighting for his life. His aorta had ruptured and the doctor had done his best to stitch it back, but it wasn’t doing well. And as the stitch leaked, so did our hopes.

The room was filled to capacity with church folks from Mesquite who dearly loved their pastor, with preacher friends from across the state and beyond, and with the most important ones, Ginger, Carmen, Shara and Ryan. The wife and kids of my good friend were hurting and there was nothing I could do about it.

It’s been 4015 days since Keith pushed the gate of heaven open and walked up streets of gold that he had sung about his entire life. I think I have thought of him a whole lot of those days. He pops in my mind at the oddest places, like if I am nice to a waitress and give her an extra tip for being sweet…I think of Keith. On the rare occasions that my wife isn’t around and I get to eat at a greasy food place like Waffle House…I think of Keith. When I hear a great, soulful song that causes me to melt in the presence of God…I think of Keith.

Keith was the featured singer on a song Tony Roberts wrote entitled It’s Jesus That I Want To See. Keith sings this song now as something already accomplished, but I still miss him.

IT’S JESUS I WANT TO SEE

I’ve heard there’s pearls on the gates and gold on the streets,
And the things we’ve always reached for, we’ll just trample beneath our feet,
But it’s not a wish for riches that draws me to that place,
It’s a strong, strong desire to see Jesus face to face.

I’m sure it’ll be lovely, such sights we’ll behold
Like walls made of jasper, and streets of purest gold,
But if there were no splendor, it’d be all the same to me,
For wherever Jesus is, that will be heaven to me.

Chorus:
It’s Jesus that I want to see,
It’s Jesus that I want to see,
All the gold you could put there won’t make it heaven for me,
For it’s Jesus that I want to see.

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