You wanted to finish medicine and become a doctor, and people doubted that you could. After all, you were 45. What school of medicine had ever accepted a student at that age?
At 40 you graduated from academy taking tutored night classes and studying when you could, still carying on your part of a prosperous plumbing business. That year too I graduated from academy, but you got better grades.
Continuing your work by day, you went ahead with night classes at the university near by, until one day you had completed all of the premedical requirements, except a few Bible subjects.
Seeming more certain of the direction you were going, you talked mother into selling out--home and business--and moving into one room at La Sierra. Your business partner bought your half of the business and told you, "I hope you make it, Frank, but at your age I think your chances are very slim."
Later, one of your professors at La Sierra echoed the same opinoin when he said to you, "Frank, you have to plan on not making it. Our school of medicine just doesn't accept men of your age. And if you did, you probably couldn't make it."
Such remarks seemed to be a challenge to you. You kept in close postal contact with Dr. Shyrock, even sending him your grade cards so when the actual decision time came, they knew who you were, and what you had been doing. Sure enough, they accepted you into the class of much younger men and women. These students had somehow come together just at the close of the second world war--a sort of potpourri clas. But you had one pvoision in your acceptance--you could not fail any subject and expect to repeat it.
Oh, we talked about how proud we were of you. But I didn't really understand the difficult task you had undertaken. You bought a little rough architect's shack and assembled it in backyard of your rented Lorna Linda home. You took me out to see it one day—a tiny little room with a heating unit in it and a desk hinged to one wail with a blackboard hanging above it. A tall, unfinished wooden stool completed your study—the place you spent hours studying into the mysteries of medical science.
But I remember the time I came out while you were studying in the evening and found you on your knees, talking to God. Like that time I found you on your knees in the big, walk-in closet at home, when a house wouldn't sell, and it was so necessary that it sell at just that time—and it did.
So, even if you expressed your concern about the young men in your class having an edge on you in sharpness and good memories, you had a Partner who supplied your lacks and needs.
About this time there appeared a certain attractive woman who arranged a little dinner for two—you and her—but you put her off, explaining that you loved your wife very much. She became huffy and reported something untrue about you to her influential husband. He made things a bit difficult for you for a short while, but it all blew over.
And you did circumcise the wrong baby that one time. His , arents seemed to take it very hard. But at least, you finished the prescribed course and the big day came—graduation!
Soon you had your own office ol Seventh Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona, on borrowed money, inherited optimism, an underlying enthusiasm, and Moth,r's help as office nurse. In a short time, the two of you had that waiting room as busy as a small Grand Central Station. People loved you! Why not? You made each one feel so special.
You saw Ben Adams, that thin, sporty man, with no known relatives in the whole world, grow thinner and thinner and finally die of cancer. But not before you had him safely secured as a baptized member of the Phoenix Central Church. Did anyone ever know how many nights you spent with him in his tiny little apartment, easing his pain and studying the Bible with him? And how after he died, you settled his estate, finding it devoid of dollars. But you paid all of his bills, including his funeral expenses.
I remember little Tim, a blond five year old, hating to be in the big, austere St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was confined with valley fever. He asked if you "would come up and play" with him. So, you spent one of your very short lunch hours playing with him in his hospital room, making roads and hills in the bed-clothes for the little cars you had taken along for him.
We knew you really wanted to be a missionary to Borneo. This dream you gave up because of family responsibilities. The grandparents needed your support and help, and you gave it freely to them.
Then your "Borneo" became Sedona, Arizona, where there were no other Seventh-day Adventist doctors. You had to drive an hour to reach the nearest hospital, but soon in your Sedona office you had a constant stream of patients. You showed deep concern for the priest from the Chapel of the Holy Cross nearby because his living quarters consisted of dame, cold rooms, chiseled out of the stone mountain; he frequently suffered from colds, that you treated without charge.
Then, one Sabbath morning, after getting up to make three house calls during the night in the cold of December 31, you were on your way to church. A car stopped on the road in front of you. You pushed hard on the brakes. They grabbed on the right rear side, flipping your tan station wagon over, throwing you out and then crushing your chest.
Mother, unable to move because of injuries, and because of a foot caught under the dash, called out to you and got no response. She felt sure that you were dead, and you were.
She couldn't attend your funeral, but she heard about it. The conference decided to have it in an auditorium because patients and friends wanted to pay tribute to you. We knew you would have been embarrassed at the things they said. You believed so much in putting the other fellow first and always taking a back seat.
Margo, the blonde mother of two babies you delivered, insisted on putting a long-stemmed red rose in your hands as she passed by your coffin.
The priest from Sedona sent us a card saying that he would never forget your kindness to him.
Today, I have two of the little notes you wrote to Mother. One of them dates from Loma Linda days.
It is not time for discouragement now. The victory is almost won. Let's push on. I know we can make it. God is no respecter of persons. David did—we can—same Advocate.
The other one, written more recently, is my favorite. You left it in the middle of the bedroom rug for Mother when you went out on a night call.
Loving you dearly. You mean everything to me. You and I and the children must gain heaven, mustn't we?
Yes, you did what you set out to do. You became a physician and served others. You set high standards and lived up to them yourself. I feel honored and fortunate to have had such a father.
But I miss you very much. Let's meet on resurrection day! So much has happened. See you then.