When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
Robbie was someone I would pick up the phone and call if I felt the need to share something, or just have a chat. Robbie would find ways to make himself available. I observed Robbie would do the same for a lot of people. That’s just how he was.
Robbie Gowdey, Dr. Bill Bright’s right-hand man in promoting the cause of the Campus Crusade for Christ, devoted his life to his belief in God. He and his colleagues traveled over 150 countries to persuade his mission of furthering the cause of Christ, as Ron Jenson, then President of Campus Crusade’s International School of Theology, recalls:
“Robbie and I joined Bill in traveling the world together including going into China with Bunker and Carolyn Hunt, Jim Irwin, the astronaut, Joe Foss and others VIP’s in the 1980′s. Robbie and I bought identical, custom made Asian-looking white leisure suits (you had to be there) to wear on our bullet train trip from the border of China to what was then called Canton. But, because we all tried to smuggle in Bibles and Jesus Films and were founded out by the authorities, we were punished by being put on a slow, local, dirty, wood benched train. I sat next to a couple of chickens (really, chickens!) in a pen. Robbie and I turned those nice white leisure suits into what looked like coal miner gear. But, we laughed, rejoiced and continued the many year adventure we were on.”
I would call Robbie a true People Connector, as characterized in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Helping others was part of Robbie’s life. It was something he enjoyed of doing, regardless how much help he was actually needing. “Robbie had an unrelenting desire for lifting the hopes and spirits of those around him”, as Andrew elegantly describes his beloved dad. Robbie came to their minds when his friends were seeking advices, directions, or helps, because he was someone they could relate and trust, often times for some, it might have been just a single acquaintance occurred a few years ago.
Robbie was going through tremendous wearisomeness, perhaps since early 2006. We sat in our favorite “meeting place” – various Corner Bakery Cafes – many times chatting about life and challenges. Even in those difficult times, Robbie was still actively engaged in helping a few projects aiming to make communities safer and better. I had made up my mind that for whatever Robbie was involved, I would make myself available to facilitate whatever he needed from me.
I still find myself in various Corner Bakery Cafes, alone though most the times. Occasionally, I reach the phone and start dialing…