Intro to Watsonopolis

Watsonopolis is a place where the Watson family posts their writing, reflections, images and videos.

Most of the stuff we post are our own thoughts, wonderings, and stories that emerge from our lives, our living, the world around us and the world within us.

You'll find us reflecting on our travels, our faith, justice, and what it means for us to live well in 21st century America. 

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« Haw-spitality | Main | The Many Faces of Nathan »

the life I saved...

5 years ago, after a mid-morning workout, on my way back from the gym I stopped by Don's house.  On a whim really.  Lisa was out of town, this was before Nathan joined our lives, so I was a bachelor for the weekend.  When I arrived at his house, I noticed the door was ajar and when I peeked in, the inside of the house looked as though it had been tossed, as in a robbery....

Don was, and remains, one of our families dearest friends.  so much of who we are, where we are and how we are we owe to Dr. Don Simmons.   Lisa and I first met Dr. Simmons (he chuckles everytime I call him that) at Golden Gate Seminary where he was a professor of Christian Education.  From there he became a great friend, one of the very few (maybe only) professor who regularly invited students over to his house for rousing parties.  Following my graduation (perhaps because of it) Don left the seminary and went to work for One by One Leadership in Fresno, Ca.

....I yelled inside to see if anyone was home.  no response.  I pulled my head back outside the door, to see if anyone was around.  no one.  I yelled again.  "Don!  Are you in there?!"  Somewhere in the fear I stepped into the house and began quietly walking into the dining room...

  When Don moved to Fresno, he quickly began recruiting Lisa and I to join him.  Maybe its because he's single and just needed some good friends to join him in his new city, maybe he actually thought we'd fit in Fresno and at One by One, or maybe we were just foolish enough to follow him; either way, I ended up working with Don at One by One and Lisa and i moved from San Francisco to Fresno in the winter of 2001. some point I heard Don sort of moaning from the back of the house in his bed room.  He was coherent enough to tell me that he had a strong head ache, he'd been sick for a few days and he asked me to get him an aspirin.  Then he went back to sleep.  Don had been sick for a day and a half.  He cancelled a speaking engagement and decided to stay home for the weekend...

I've known Don for 10 years now.  Beginning at Golden Gate in the fall of 1998.  he's been a professor, teacher, mentor, collegue, friend and now, to Nathan and Elias, he's Uncle Donnie.  Don was actually the first to arrive at the hospital when Nathan was born.  The nurses let him back to the recovery after nathan arrived.  they thought he was the grandpa.  He didn't tell them any different.

....Before I arrived, Don had tried to walk around his house and stumbled over all the furniture.  Knocking over fans, tables, dressers, chairs.  Walking, stumbling, passing out.  Doing it again.  At some point, I realized that no amount of aspirin was going to help.  I called Gordon, one of our friends at One by One who had seen Don the day before, when he was in better shape, but still sick.  911 was called.  The ambulance came.  The tried to take his blood pressure, but it was so high it wouldn't register....

5 years ago, nearly to the day, Don was laying in his bed suffering from an anuerism.  I just happened to stop by.  Had I not, we would have lost a dear, dear friend.  And I might be living with the nagging question of why, when i thought of stopping to see him, did I not.  It was touch and go those first 24 hours.  I remember our friend H. Spees calling Don's mom in S. Carolina.  And telling her that her son was sick.  

....after rushing him to the hospital it was discovered that he'd had a brain bleed.  the doctors weren't sure that he would make it.  several hours later, maybe it was a day or the next day, they told us Don was out of the woods, but the recovery would be a long one.  They also said that had we delayed another 15 minutes, we would have lost Don.  15 minutes.  15 minutes....

Don is fully alive now.  Recovered.  Some side affects, but he mostly uses them as excuses ;)  He continues to travel, teach and speak.  He encourages others who've come close to death and encourages them to life.  Every year, on this anniversary he writes me to say thank you.  I don't know what to say.  I love Don.  I'm glad he's a friend.  I'm glad that God used me to spare his life, to help in the recovery and to help in the living.  And i'm glad that Nathan & Elias have such a heroic uncle like Uncle Donnie.  

To another year....and all the years to come my good friend. 

And please, stop by Don's blog, read his anniversary post and leave a comment.


Reader Comments (2)

I thank you too.
Because of you-I've gotten to know Don a wee bit.

Thanks for listening to that inner voice-keep listening brother-keep saving lives.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMerlin

You are a helper in the truest sense of the word. Though in less dramatic or fatal circumstances, you were an exceptional friend to my family and I-and we had never even met! I thank you for modeling the character of a believer in our Lord and am encouraged by this story. Praise God

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua Mason

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