Monday, August 12, 2013

For Kathy

How many ways can you say, "Hello, boys!"?  The variety might seem endless, and include a number of great movie scenes: mob boss greets muscle-men who have yet again failed to nail the hero; same hero surprises said muscle-men in final show-down; bar-lady addresses regulars (add "tiredly" or "sultrily" according to your preference)...I'm sure you can add many more.
In the real world - my real world - "Hello, boys!" is a greeting I often hear directed at my two sons. Grannies and granddads use it; Dad uses it; I use it myself. Just yesterday, we heard it, as the two boys and I arrived (late!) at church. As we moved up the path, we encountered a man pushing a wheelchair. The greeting, "Hello, boys!" came from the lady in the wheelchair; and it was only later, when I thought about how natural and normal it sounded, that I was moved to tears.
The words came from a dear friend who had been in hospital for two months after a stroke; a friend who has been in and out of "reality" for all that time. So "confused" had she been that all but a very few visitors were kept away; and now, here she was, about to enter a hall full of people, and her precious mind making the connection to these two young whirligigs she hadn't seen in months: "Hello, boys!"

I was so glad of that serendipity: the blessing of meeting Kathy as she arrived at church after such a long absence. A few minutes later, I drove away from church again, off home to complete some work while the boys went to their classes. The irony of it hit me: Kathy had just arrived, and here I was, rushing away. What had it cost Kathy and her husband to get to the meeting that morning? Why was I giving up that precious thing, the fellowship of the saints, to attend to the tyranny of the urgent? I could rationalize it in many ways; but I realized that such things must not be lightly reasoned away. For who knows when we may next be able to enjoy them?

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