Today I attended the funeral of Jim Davidson, who I have known for about 13 years. It was a lovely service, one which I’m sure would have been very pleasing to Jim.
As I’ve said I’ve known Jim for about 13 years, having first met him at Weir Pumps (Cathcart) when I arrived there in 1987 to start my year’s placement there from Paisley College of technology (as it was known then). While at Weir’s Jim was my supervisor/line manager for the majority of my time, although Jim moved onto another job before I completed my year’s placement – and no I don’t think it was supervising me that made him move!
Then a few years later after graduating from Paisley and gaining more work experience in private industry as well as local government, I took a new post at North Lanarkshire Council in 1998. Imagine my surprise on my first day at NLC, when while walking along a corridor, I saw someone who looked like Jim but so much slimmer than the Jim Davidson I’d worked for at Weirs. Nonetheless I still recognised him immediately although the same cannot be said the other way round, as Jim didn’t recognise me! To be honest it didn’t surprise me too much as in the 10 year ago since I’d last seen Jim, I had matured a lot, changed my hairstyle quite a few times too and got married! Once I told Jim who I was and told him my maiden name, he soon remembered me.
After working at NLC for a while, I was informed that I was moving to a new project team and Jim would be my Project manager there – that was very surreal, it was as if the clock had been turned back 15 years or so!
So that’s how I know Jim, but now I want to tell you a bit more about the person I knew as Jim Davidson. Firstly I remember it being very apparent to me after just a short time working for Jim that he was a very friendly guy, who would try and help anyone if he possibly could. I never ever saw/heard Jim lose his temper, he was always calm and tried to reason with others whenever conflict arose. He never judged anyone by the gossip or stories which circulated the office – It was noticeable that he made his own mind up about the capabilities/personalities in the office.
One of the other things Jim and I had in common was our belief and love of Christ. One things that struck me about Jim and I was that neither of us were ones to push our Christianity onto people, but that certainly didn’t stop us from sharing with each other. We shared stories and experiences on a number of occasions, and I particularly remember Jim asking me a lot about the Salvation Army – to those of you who knew him, it will come as no surprise that he was particularly interested in the music we use in the Salvation Army.
There are many other things I remember about Jim and the kind of man he was, the conversations we had, and the stories and tales he’d tell of family outings or holidays and the times when he was pursuing one of his hobbies, but I don’t feel that would give you a true idea of who and what Jim represented.
Instead I want to share with you a particular conversation we had that I will never ever forget, and that is one we had at work probably about 5 years ago. It is also one which until now, I have never shared with anyone, however I feel today is fitting time to share it with you. To give you a bit of background, I had been unwell since Easter 2003 and had undergone lots of tests, but no diagnosis had yet been found – it was only about 3.5 years later I finally got a diagnosis – and as you can probably imagine I was finding life tough going, though I did try to keep my feelings/emotions/pain to myself when in the office. As Jim was my manager I had made him aware of my health situation, and that I thought was that. Then one day when I was really struggling to cope with my physical pain and my emotions (although I thought I’d managed to keep my feelings out of public view), he took me aside to another room, and then he prayed for me.
Wow! I will never forget that day, I certainly hadn’t expected Jim to do that for me, and that I think was what made it so special for me – I knew he was a Christian he likewise he knew I was a Christian, however for someone who I’d only really known in a work capacity to care enough about me to do that, was very humbling. That to me sums up Jim – a quite man, but one who will try to help anyone in any way he felt he could and for me it was sharing with me in prayer.
When I found out a few months ago of Jim’s illness, I like so many others prayed for Jim, and continued to pray for Jim until his death. Jim didn’t know I prayed for him and his family in these last months as by this time Jim had move to work for another council so I was not in contact with him, but still felt that connection with him.
Revelation 21:4 (New International Version)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
During the service today Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) was sung, and as you will know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, this is one of my favourite songs, so I’d like to share this with you again and dedicate it to Jim’s memory: