Greg Hewlett has a website now to chronicle his battle with cancer. For those who know him, there might be the expectation that it is a retrospective, since he lost a leg to bone cancer in high school. Alas, it is not.
I’ve known Greg since I was a freshman at Rice University. He was a senior that year, and I met him at a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting. That particular night a group of folks piled over to his dorm room after the meeting, and I happened to tag along. Upon entering the room several minutes after he had entered, I crossed over to say hi to him where he was sitting on the couch. Now, to understand this next part, you must know that Greg did extremely well with his prosthetic and had been wearing jeans that night. Quite frankly, I had no idea he had lost a leg (above the knee) to cancer� I merely thought he might have had a mildly sprained ankle that was causing him to limp a bit. Anyway, I crossed over to him as he sat on the couch. He was in shorts now, and had taken the leg off (though I had not seen it and still was not in a frame of mind that this was a man with a prosthetic leg), and it just so happened that the remaining portion of his amputated leg was in the crack between two of the sofa cushions.
I walked up to him and the first words I ever spoke to him (that I can recall, and spoken in total innocence thinking I was playing along with a joke) were, “Dude, you’ve got one leg.” I don�t remember exactly what he said (something like “Yep”) but I immediately realized what I had done. In response, I smiled and acted like I had meant to state an obvious truth� but how I burned inside.
Zip several years forward and I showed up at Town North Presbyterian Church upon graduating from college and moving to Dallas, where I soon ended up in a small group led by Greg. We’ve spent much time together in the intervening years, even taking Greek together prior to his time in seminary. We now serve together on the session at TNPC and continue to enjoy a steady diet of lunches with one another.
There are some friends from my past who I didn’t know all that well yet I wished I had had the opportunity to get to know better. Greg was just such a person, and by God’s blessing I have gotten to know him much better as the years have gone by. When I got the voicemail last week with the devastating news of the severity of his illness, I was at work on an elevator. As the message ended, I simply kept the phone to my ear so that no one would speak to me and tried to keep my balance as the world shifted.
I’ll have more to say in the future, but quite honestly I get choked up thinking about the whole situation and don’t really feel up to continuing at this point.