February 18, 2005

Daniel Wise

Here's my first attempt at a eulogy. We'll see how it goes.

I've known Daniel Wise for nearly four years now. I met him the first day I was here at college. Initially, he lived right across the hall from me when I lived on 3B. His room-mate never showed up, and my first room-mate and I had, shall we say, difficulties that led to his decision to leave. However, he couldn't find anywhere else on the floor to leave to, so he suggested that I move across the hall into Dan's room. Since Dan and I were becoming friends, I agreed to do this to avoid the conflict. I never regretted it.

At the end of the first year, Dan was offered a position as the RA of Thomas 1. He had not sought an RA's position; I think he was going to going Themelios, but Chad asked him. So he asked me what I thought about it. I told him I had no objections, as long as I could come with him. That's how Mr. Wise wound up being one of the few RAs on campus to have a room-mate.

As my first summer approached, I realized that I didn't know where to go or what to do. My parents were in Jordan and though I have family here in the States, I didn't know if I really wanted to move in with them during the summer. About six weeks before the semester ended, I mentioned this problem to Dan at one of the Prayer and Praise meetings. He invited me to come home with him over the summer. To my everlasting surprise, his parents agreed and even bought me a plane ticket from Longview to Alexandria, Virginia.

I guess I should digress just a little bit and extend this eulogy to his family. The Wise family comprises some of the most wonderful people I know. The verse that goes through my mind over and over again is

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Matthew 10:42, ASV

The Wise family gave me so much more than a cup of water. They treated me as if I were their own son. They moved around to give me my own room. They helped me find work my first summer on my own. They fed me. They talked with me. They were a blessing of the highest order. They taught me so much about my faith and about what it means to be a Christian. If I was asked to give one example of who Christians are and should be, I would give my room-mates family.

But back to my room-mate. We worked together on a construction site for the NIH over the summer, basically as lackeys for the plumbers. Daniel is one of the most hardworking, conscientious people I know. He always had a good attitude, was always willing to go an extra mile, and never complained. He drove us forty miles every day from Alexandria up to Maryland where the facility was.

To try to keep it short, I'll curtail the long list of things we've done together. We roomed together the next year at LeTourneau and faced the challenge of being a couple of the very few upper classmen on the new floor dramatically overwhelmed by freshmen. We worked together to try to make something of our floor. The next summer, once again I was invited back to Virginia, and once again I went. I stayed with him one more year when we got back. This past summer (2004) was the longest time I hadn't seen Mr. Wise in three years. One of the saddest parts of getting married was losing him as a room-mate.

Now for the eulogy proper. I've watched Daniel Wise over the last near-four years. He's changed a lot and remained the same in other ways. He remains one of the gentlest, kindest people I know. And also one of the sleepiest. Whenever he gets a chance, the man sleeps and sleeps. The longest stretch I've seen him pull was 18 hours. I was hoping he'd make 24 while I roomed with him, but it didn't happen. I've noticed him become a real leader in the last few years. When something needs to be done, he takes responsibility to see to it. He's conquered his fear of people (even, to some degree, the opposite sex) and the result is beautiful to see. He's one of the finest men I know. I miss him, and as I graduate, I'll miss him more. He's a good man and a fine friend, and "even I know you don't find one of those every day."

Posted by Leatherwood on February 18, 2005 at 10:32 PM