I have been changed – for good. These words, lyrics from the musical Wicked, continue to replay in my mind as I scroll through Facebook and see story after story about Scott Hauser. He was a person who changed people for good. I knew this personally, as did so many others. Scott’s life made a difference. As I read these posts I can’t help but think of my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. In that film, the angel Clarence grants the main character, George Bailey, his request: “I wish I had never been born.” With Clarence’s help, George goes back in time to witness how the world would have played out without him. It is astonishing to see how this one person positively impacted his family, his town, and even his country. George Bailey, like my friend Scott, changed the world around him – for good.
When I think of Scott, his wife Lara immediately joins him in my mind. It’s impossible for me to separate the two. My life was changed not only because I knew him but because I knew them. What has impacted me the most is not only their individual character traits but what they represented and exemplified together – a selfless covenant marriage anchored in Christ, no matter what their circumstances. Their love was from beyond this world and was evident to all, especially through their difficult last days together. Even from an ICU hospital bed Scott managed to arrange for a Valentine’s Day gift for the love of his life just a few days before his passing. And Lara’s commitment and eternal devotion to Scott was ever-present as she stayed by his bedside, continually praying and holding out hope for his recovery.
Their loving bond of oneness brought tears to my eyes as I read Lara’s Caring Bridge posts, “Scott and I had hard conversations about how far we are willing to go to prolong his life,” she wrote. “We decided if we have a chance, however slim, we have to take it.” It was never about him – always about them and their four children.
One of Lara’s last posts, titled “A Long and Storied History,” shared memories of their goodbyes through the years and also their final one. I could barely get through it as Lara spoke of the children saying goodbye to their dad. Then there was Lara and Scott’s last kiss before his ventilator tube was inserted. “Time will tell if our goodbye was for now, or for longer,” Lara wrote, “Even in his fog this morning, Scott knew a few things. He was gentle and loving with me as I cried on his shoulder. He sacrificed time on his breathing machine because he was so determined to speak to his oncologist to thank him for everything. When the drugs took hold and he was confused about what was happening, he knew the most important thing. I asked him, "Who do you belong to?” Scott responded, “I belong to God."
Because I knew Lara and Scott, I too am reminded of who I belong to and inspired by a kind of love I didn’t even know existed. Because I knew them, I have been changed – for good.
It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime. So let me say before we part: So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine by being my friend ... (Excerpt from “For Good” by Stephen Schwartz. Click here to hear the entire song: For Good)