His nurse preceded the doctor into the room where we waited. “When he comes in, feel free to ask him anything you would like.” She was quite matter-of-fact, but very friendly.
We immediately liked Dr. Victor when he came in, and before he would leave the small room after we had talked, Jerry would ask if we could pray together. The doctor readily agreed.
It was my receiving this piece of paper in the mail that had led to our meeting.
After the introductions and shaking of hands, Dr. Victor sat on a rolling stool and faced a computer screen. He then rifled through a few documents, reported the results of some blood work and some other things.
“The biopsy, Dr. Victor. What does the biopsy show?” I asked.
In the quiet caring way of Dr. Victor, he said, “Mrs. Buxton, you do have a form of cancer.” And before the visit was concluded, I learned there was a cancerous tumor in my right breast, that there were numerous pre-cancerous lesions there also, and that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. He recommended an immediate mastectomy.
A few days ago, I received this piece of paper–a darling, sweet, cherished piece of paper. I give thanks. Most of all I thank God, for although I give credit to my doctors, to medications, to surgery . . .God is in charge. He is supreme, the One who has given me life. I’m forever grateful.
(During those times I set up another blog which chronicled my cancer treatment. You might be interested in reading over there. You would need to scroll down to get to the beginning posts. Shirley Buxton’s Cancer Detour
As soon as it beeped, I reached for the phone beside me and as I lifted it, I saw the number was an unfamiliar one. A text message read:
This is Dave Estey. The man that was driving the truck. I have read the book and want you to know how sorry I am. This is my contact number if anyone would ever need to speak to me further. With the deepest regret. God bless. Dave
I did not know anyone named Dave Estey, but as soon as I read his message, I knew that indeed, I did know him. He was the driver of the truck that twenty-five years ago had struck my husband as he stood beside a disabled car, leaving him so critically injured that he spent five months in St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, CA.
Some of you will know that several years ago I wrote a book entitled AThousand Pieces in which I told the story of Jerry’s death in the street, the lady who revived him, his almost unbelievably severe injuries, and his remarkable recovery. I also told that the driver of the truck who hit Jerry was driving with a suspended license, had no insurance, no assets, was drunk, and was high on methamphetamines.
A Thousand Pieces has been an inspiration to scores of people, and is now in its fourth printing. Among other places, it is available at Amazon.
So, as I looked at my phone on January 17, 2019, I came to the reckoning that Dave Estey was that driver.
“Jerry,” I called across the room. “Listen to this text I just received.”
The details are too many to include here, but know this: Jerry and I during the past two days have come to know that Dave Estey is a rare man, one of meekness and goodness; of sweetness and of love. He has fought demons most of his life and is a deeply wounded man. But now, in his early fifties, he has come to himself, is analyzing his life, and is making restitution. He is humble, remorseful, and truly repentant. Two days ago, he sat by Jerry in a restaurant, looked him square in the face, and, prefaced by several long sentences, said, “I am sorry.”
And my husband . . .in his sweet, slow way, put his hand atop Dave’s, and said, “I forgave you twenty-five years ago.” The sweet presence of God hovered about us, and we all, I believe, wept.
As I said earlier, the whole story is too long to tell here, but you should know this. Sometime back, Dave began searching for Jerry Buxton, and as he did, he came across this blog, learned through it of A Thousand Pieces, and ordered a copy from Amazon. He then made the contact to which I have referred, and made other contacts, which resulted in our meeting together. He lives 450 miles away from us. Last Tuesday he drove down to our area, and along with his wife, and two of our friends, Patrick and Holly Garrett, Jerry and I met him at the Claim Jumper in San Bernardino.
I have essentially finished writing a book called Dream Shards and was working on some drafting of it when the first text from Dave came. The gist of the new book is that each of us has dreams and at one time or another they all shatter. The issue then is what we do about it? Do we wallow around in the ashes, the shards, or do we pick up the pieces and fashion a new piece? A new dream? The coexistence and interaction of Jerry’s story and Dave’s story must be a part of that book. So even though I was through writing it, I am adding another chapter. Dave and I will be communicating by phone and email and the rest of his story will be told in that book.
In the meantime, I submit to you that Dave Estey is a rare and courageous man, and despite his sordid history, he is a good man. We are still shaken about this meeting, and believe it involves more than can be seen or understood. No doubt it is of the spiritual realm, and is directed by God. Both Jerry and I believe Dave has caught a vision of righteousness and godliness, and we will continue to do all we can to lead him to a full biblical experience with God. Please pray for all of us.
Sister Garrett had asked my husband to speak with the young men if he felt it was the right thing, and so came the time after we had eaten when they all gathered in the living room, and Jerry spoke a few words to them. They were so quiet, so attentive, and so obviously moved by his words.
I don’t say too much about it except with our family and close friends, but my husband’s childhood was quite rocky, and that he so effectively pushed through significant challenges is a source of pride to me, and I believe to our children. He was reared in the state of Louisiana, the youngest of twelve children, and more than a few times he has said to me, “We were so poor.” They had no running water, no telephone, no indoor bath, and no car. When he was four years old, his mother died. When he was thirteen his father died.
The Buxtons are great people and his siblings did their best to help him through those challenging years. He lived with some of them from time to time, but he was not really happy. “I never felt I belonged anywhere. Always felt I was in the way.” For a couple of years while he was in high school he lived with a family who had a dairy farm. He rose at 3:30, milked cows, then delivered raw milk to people in the neighborhood before his first session. “I was so sleepy, I often fell asleep in class.”
I believe it was when he was a high school Junior that he went to live with his brother, Bill, who was already a school teacher, and who helped Jerry enroll in a college after he graduated from high school. He worked his way through those four years and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. A young man having a college degree today is not considered especially significant, but in those years, it was an unusual accomplishment.
He had received the Holy Ghost when he was 13 years old, and during his Junior year in college, God called him into the ministry.
“The rest,” they say, “is history.” He has taught school, founded a school, pastored three churches, married a pretty good wife (feel free to snicker here), and sired four children who all are living good lives, and who are filled with the Holy Ghost. So to those young men Saturday afternoon, he gave the good word, “You Can Make It!” No matter your challenge, no matter your situation, “you can make it.” Some of the young men have solid godly families, some have sketchy relationships with their fathers, and some have no fathers at all in their homes.
So ended the afternoon of a memorable, blessed day. Look carefully at the last picture, and you will see that not everything was of a spiritual, holy nature. . .which is quite as should be!
I spied the little fella yesterday as I was cleaning out a flower bed, noted his beauty, and since then at length have considered his lesson. This morning as I set out for another day of yard clean-up, I carried my camera down the stairs with me for I was remembering from yesterday this little creation.
He is trying to be a tree.
He was ordained to be a tree, and somehow in his “guts” he knows he is destined to be such a living thing. It is in his genes, his DNA. Even so, it has not been easy for him. He has fought obstacles including the beating about of fierce winds that come off Lake Gregory and that tear around the corner of our house. Through the winter months cold, edgy snow piled high over him, drenching rain poured off our roof at the spot where he lies, and even sometimes after walking Winston if the garage door is closed I toss a little doggie business bag in that area, that stays there until later when I will retrieve it and plunk it into a trash can. Even that, as you can see, did not deter him. He pushed and shoved. He grew, he grunted, he persevered until finally he was strong enough to crack open his restrictive acorn walls, to flaunt his bright green oak leaves. For you understand, don’t you, that God designed him to be a tree.
I actually did not know he was there until yesterday, and even then I paid him scant attention. It was only when my rake hung up on him, and I found him to be well rooted into the ground that I considered him. It matters not to him that neither Jerry or me, or anyone else for that matter, had taken note of him, that no one encouraged him with pep talks, or strokes, or positive words. Alone, he continued on his way toward being a tree. He’s a winner, this little seedling of mine. He’s rare. Rare, you say? An acorn? There must be millions in existence, or billions. Yes, there are, but I tell you that out of the mounds of acorns I bagged today, only this one will be a tree. The others have lost their way. Their dreams have died. Their visions of soaring into the sky, of birds nesting among their leaves, of little boys climbing and building club houses in their branches have vanished. Tonight they nestle against the other losers in black trash bags that set near the fence on the east side of our drive way.
And what of you? Of me? What of the gifts God and genetics have placed inside us? What of the urging to break through the binding walls that threaten our going to our graves with our potential unfulfilled, our talents silenced, the world deprived of our gifts. Let not the wind, nor the cold, nor loneliness, nor pressure, nor agedness, nor youth, nor past mistakes, nor anything else now or in the future defeat us.
. . .for even a few rare acorns become trees.
My little fella is growing in a place that is undesirable. That I now consider him special, I will transplant him into a container. Because we have many oak trees and no room for another, I’m offering him as a gift to you who live close by. Any takers?
The years zip by, and my baby girl has long passed those infant, toddler, teenage–even the young adult ages, and now rests securely in her middle years, as beautiful and sweet as ever.
A couple of days ago she and I spent several hours together, and in a simple way celebrated her birthday. We ate a couple of restaurant meals, attended a political gathering in Glendale, then she arranged her guestroom bed in a comfy way, and I spent the night with her. In the morning we drank coffee together and engaged again in sweet conversation.
My daughter is kind and gentle, truly a Christian, an exceptional mother. She also is strong, or she would not be alive. Among women, there is none more caring than my Rebecca. She inquires after her dad and me and caters to us in many ways. She is giving and generous to all she meets–perhaps to a fault.
How could I have known on that long ago day in October the joy and love that Rebecca would bring to our family. How blessed I am.
If you know Rebecca, I’d love for you to leave a comment here. 🙂