Bill Kraski loomed a giant among the weak. My first words to him were always, “How you feelin’?” For as long as I knew him, Bill was a member of “the walking wounded;” men who sometimes seemed to be “dead men walking.” Just his appearance welled up tears in me — till he started to converse.
Then came the smile, a little tease, then authentic laughter, now a return to a controlled face. “Okay!?” – was a half question/half reply — he “noted” my comments. “Okay?” Next came something that required deep thought (some details were missing), nevertheless after a few queries, profundity occurred. Bill gave us, in a short sentences, hours of meditation; the baritone spoke as a news reporter. He was a D.J
Bill spoke of his DJ days, when prompted. I think he played “MacArthur Park” first of anybody. He liked Bela Fleck and anything “light jazz.” I didn’t know Bill back then, but the rich voice was enough to quell all doubts. He preferred John Tesh in the call room at Basement Waterproofing Nationwide.
He had a command in him – authority!
Bill sold waterproofing from the phones; he took calls too, he handled complaints. Most hearing him for the first time thought he was, of course, the owner. He had a command in him – authority!
It all makes sense, maybe not at first.
Bill was a blog writer, a step above us amateurs. “Apologies for the delay in getting to part 3, I’ve been dealing with some health issues. To a degree I still am. But I also don’t want to delay this part of the series any longer than absolutely necessary. So, here we go.” He was immersed in it. Dedicated. “I’ve been using smart-phones since the days of Windows Mobile. And I’ve been actively Christian, even before that.” It all makes sense, maybe not at first.
I personally got a kick out of the “tin foil” sandwiches that he really loved and lived on. Wire hanging from his ear, he savored the flavors, he took big bites. Fries, too. Bill could taunt with the best. Subtle, deadpanned, sometimes they went over your head. If you got ’em you roared. So did Bill.
He hired a friend to drive him back and forth to his job at BWN. I never knew, maybe could have chipped in. Bill paid his own way.
Sometimes he had hair. Sometimes facial.
What we loved most about Bill was his presence with us. He was a cowboy in appearance. Sometimes did the hat too. Sometimes he had hair. Sometimes facial. When Bill was not around, we knew his breathing was bothering him. We prayed. He always came back. This time was different.
Our loss, God’s gain.
Bill Kraski is brightening heaven now. Our loss, God’s gain. He worked the Pastoral Care office with us. Just the fact that God was using Bill gave us all hope. Bill, the world did not deserve you. You, like all of us, are trophies of God’s grace. Your reward?a big one. Bill, we will miss you. Till then …
Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Pastor Sliva went to Bible college in Massachusetts at the Stevens School of the Bible in !982. He and his family moved to Baltimore in1987 to be a part of Greater Grace World Outreach. From there, he served in Prescott, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Ind. Ordained upon his return to Baltimore in 1995, Pastor Sliva was afflicted with brain cysts in the late 90's and stayed at home base until his recovery in 2002. He then assisted with ministries in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before resettling in Baltimore due to his son's sudden illness and death. Pastor Sliva is a colon cancer survivor. He has been part of the Pastoral Care Team since 2008 and leads the Grief Share group at Greater Grace Church. Read more from Pastor Sliva on his blog Healing at the Cross.
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