Years ago, during long drives between prairie communities, I discovered the radio personality Paul Harvey. He would tell a fascinating true life story and then would pause and say, “We will be back in a moment for the rest of the story.” There was almost always a surprising twist such as “and that person was the young Thomas Alva Edison!”
Last week I wrote about our friend Sean’s upcoming funeral. Today I want to tell you the “rest of the story.” On the night of the visitation I had the opportunity to speak with Sean’s sixteen year old daughter. I told her of his love for her and how she often featured in our prayer times. I know others spoke to her that night in similar ways. The next day at the funeral she arose to lead us in prayer. She cleared her throat and said that she had not planned on saying anything. For the first half of her life her dad did not want to be in her life and for the second half she did not want to be involved in his. She spoke about how she had come to realize that her dad had become a good man. She forgave him his mistakes and apologized for coming to this so late. I do not believe there was a dry eye in the room! I have been in many wet eyed funeral parlors but this was different. Tears of great joy mixed with those of sorrow. This young woman was set free. Sean would have been over the moon with joy, in fact he was!
I had another interesting time just yesterday. On my visit to the half-way house I had several good chats with guys and picked up the sign-up sheet for our “Spaghetti & a Western”. For several years, once a month I cook up a spaghetti dinner and after supper we watch an episode of the old television series “Bonanza”. These have often been great events but this month there was only one name on the sign-up sheet …. and it had been scratched off. What was I going to do? My first thought was “I’ve got the night off!” but fortunately that thought, as inviting as it was, did not hold sway. I remembered Jesus admonition to “go into the highways and the byways”. I remembered that it was one of my Street Hope friends’ birthday, so I asked him if he was free for dinner. I got another couple of guys together and we turned it into our friend’s 50th birthday party. It was a holy night of spaghetti and ‘Ben and the boys’.
I don’t know how my friend would have marked his birthday. We launched him into his sixth decade (he did not like that phrase) in prayer. I don’t know if it made his day but it certainly made mine! Throwing a party for someone who had no plans for his big day, that sounds like a Jesus kind of thing!