“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Dick was one of the 20 members of my Sunday school class that I began attending in mid-July. A couple of weeks after that, he sat beside me because he arrived late and I’m always on the back row. He leaned over and whispered that his 25-minute drive from home got delayed because of a dead battery, but being late didn’t stop him.
After that, we talked every Sunday. We happened to end up at a table just the two of us at the church’s first potluck dinner since they reopened after the Covid-19 shutdown. He teared up telling me about living alone since his wife’s death. He was grateful that his roofer (who he never saw again, so I decided he must’ve been an angel) invited him to Solid Rock at Market Common. Dick said, “The minute I walked through the doors, I knew I was home.”
I laughed out loud during the dinner when we played the game “Name That Candy” and the hint was “a popular American rapper.”
“Isn’t there a rapper named Eminem (M&M)?” he said.
“Wow, there sure is. I figured we were too old to get that one.”
After we ate, he asked me to pray for him. It was awkward, but I did it. In hindsight, I realized how much he blessed me by asking. His request made me feel trusted and needed and honored.
He sent me home with a plate of ham he baked. He insisted I take the Tupperware container of juice so the meat wouldn’t be dry when I reheated it.
The last Sunday school class he attended, he shared about praying for a member of his Bible study group that met weekly in his home. His friend asked for prayers, but she hesitated to say why.
“God gives specific answers for specific prayers,” he said.
She broke down and told that she’d been diagnosed with cancer that afternoon. Turns out, two days after he prayed for her, her doctor called and said he misread her chart. She didn’t have cancer after all. Dick said, “When she called me with the good news, I got so excited, I felt like I could fly away.”
Four days later, that’s what he did. Dick flew away, into the arms of Jesus.
I tracked down his friend on Facebook to say I was sorry for her loss. I also wanted to ask if she got her book back. He borrowed it from her so that I could read it. He said, “I was reading it to be nice, but then I got hooked.”
I was doing the same thing for him, reading the book to be nice, until I got hooked too. I ordered my own copy of Genesis in Space and Time by Francis A. Schaeffer after I read, “Love of the creature toward the Creator must include obedience or it is meaningless.”
So many of us benefited because of Dick’s love for and obedience to Jesus.
A group of us sat on the beach and told stories about his generosity, service, and humor.
He bought Panera Bread cards and gave them as gifts … just because. He drove church members to appointments. He baked ham for every potluck dinner.
He worked on the church’s security team that I didn’t know existed, checked on people who needed checking on, and adopted us as family since his grown children lived away.
He grinned every time he shared about God and the Bible. Like the Sunday we discussed how Abraham lied and said Sarai was his sister instead of his wife because she was desirable. We all got a good laugh when Dick said, “Yeah, she was hot.”
What I recognized that afternoon listening to a dozen or more stories …
It’s one thing to hear about Jesus’ love.
It’s another thing to witness examples all around us of Jesus’ love.
It’s a far greater thing, though, to actually experience Jesus’ love.
I might still be questioning why I cried so many tears over a friend I only knew for three months except for Pastor JP’s sermon “Roots and Fruit: Blessed Roots” about the law of sowing and reaping.
He said something like this …
Some people walk around with a cup in their hand, always in need and always waiting for someone to fill it.
Others carry a pitcher and always have plenty because they’re looking for someone to pour into.
The irony is I thought I was the one being kind to Dick. I still think so, but not like he was kind to me. Because of him, I experienced Jesus.
Oh, how I want to be like Dick, a pitcher carrier who pours into others. How about you?
In This Together,