An Open Letter to Scott Van Swernigen (Brief Reflection on Talking with you in Kansas City)

A short open letter to Scott Van Swernigen. This is an open letter thanking him for his friendship and for talking in Kansas City, Missouri. As I head up to York I will think of you. I ask that you keep my family, especially my Dad in your thoughts. 

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.

Winnie the Pooh

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

Eleanor Roosevelt 

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 NIV 

Northern Pacific 2626 by Third Rail.

Milwaukee Road Little Joe in Deer Lodge, Montana. 

Dear Scott-

I have a lot to write about my time in Missouri and Kansas. I am slowly working it out and will crank it out between posts. I want to step back and just write you a brief note and say that it was neat to see you in Kansas City. I deeply appreciate your friendship. I appreciate your love, grace and kindness. I still find it odd as to how we met years ago. I really had no connections to the Kansas City area. It just so happened that things kind of fell into place. I guess it was your love for the Nickel Plate Road and just hanging around on Facebook that allowed me to come across you. That was almost 9 years ago now. You know the reasons why I was in Kansas City. I was on a trip for my Dad. Dad is mourning his wife’s death and he is also dealing with a brain tumor. It was a hard trip in many ways. Yet it was so rich to see my Dad really enjoy himself. I am happy that he is happy. 

Against all that I was able to lean upon you spiritually and emotionally. You very well know what makes me tick. And you spoke to all that in a Panera Bread at 6:45 in the morning. Coming in early before you had to report to work at the City Union Mission touched me. You are a family man with a lot of responsibilities to juggle. But you made some time to talk. We discussed a lot early in the morning. I appreciated you sharing what you have learned about death, illness and dying. That gave me a lot to think about and discuss. As I still deal with my Mom’s death your words were very comforting. Thanks for sharing some dark stuff in your life. What you shared about your loved one with Alzheimer’s for me was heartbreaking. Thanks Scott.  We touched on evangelical culture, and politics in church. I am grateful that you speak your mind and have such a different outlook. I am grateful that you think about a lot of things and chew on it. Maybe that is your legacy from Moody. When you stated that you were grateful that Moody is not political like Liberty University I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear that from another person. 

I wish we could have gotten together later in the week but I understand that challenges you faced. That’s cool as life happens Scott. You are going to have to take pictures of your Nickel Plate Road Mikado steam locomotive and send them to me. I will think of you when I am at York. I am also grateful that in addition to everything else we can discuss something like trains which you are nuts about. I am too. So thanks for that passion. Going forward I ask hat we still stay in touch. You are one of those rare friendships that I deeply love. You have challenged me in ways that are healthy. You push me in a lot of ways. I wrote about it the other day, but your words corresponded with what I heard at Christ Community Church. You can read that in,Tyler Chernesky of Christ Community Church in Kansas City on Friendship and Proverbs. Seeing What was Taught in a Sermon Play Out in Kansas and Missouri.I wish you were closer and that we could see each other more regularly. Maybe part of the reason why I value you is because of how transient the Washington, D.C. area is. Maybe its due to your kind and loving heart and the fact that I feel your compassion and warmth. So thanks for everything. One of these days we need to get your and your family out to Washington, D.C. 

As I wind this down can I ask you and your wife and mission to pray for my Dad. Today we learned that because of the brain tumor he lost vision in one eye. We have another MRI scan at Stanford on November 8, 2018 and I am on pins and needles. Bit if you can keep my Dad in your heart, mind, prayers and thoughts that would mean a lot to me. 

I love you Scott. Thanks for your friendship and love. Thanks for your warmth and personality. Thanks for being yourself. I love you bro! 

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner