Friday, August 10, 2018

A Son's Last Letter Home

 She said, “That is the last letter my Joey wrote to us. He wrote it just three days before he was killed. There is a part of the letter I want you to read.” Al said, “No, I don’t think I should be reading your son’s letter. It is far too private for me to read.” She replied, “The man who saved my son’s life is now part of our life. Please do this for me.”

Al opened the envelope, with the care that what he was holding in his hands was close to holy script and took out the letter. The salutation jumped out at Al. It read, “Dearest Mum and Pa”. Instantly Al recognized the intimacy and tried to hand the letter back to Mrs. Williams. She refused his offer and said, “Skip down to the middle of the page where it starts with; I know God has a plan.”

 Al found the sentence and began to read what followed. Along with the intimacy of the letter Al noticed that her son had printed it.  He thought, not too many young men have the patience to print their thoughts. The visible thoughts of her son went on. “I know God has a plan for my life, just like He does for all life. Living among the people here, knowing their struggles and trials, I believe that I am a much better man for being here. Yes, I have witnessed far too much death and brutality, so do most people living here. But, I have also seen the hand of God. The reporter who saved my life, he had no idea what was going to happen that day. But, God used him, for my benefit and I believe in some time to come for the good of many more people. I wonder how he is doing?”

At the last line, Al’s hands were trembled and tears were flowed freely. The bedroom door opened and Reverend Williams, standing at the end of the bed, understood within seconds what had taken place. Al’s trembling hands held out the letter to Mrs. Williams. Taking the letter from his hands she held it close to her chest as if she was cradling her newborn son. Slowly she folded the thin airmail paper and slid it back into the envelope. As if she was saying goodbye, her frail fingers tucked the flap inside the envelope. Quietly she glanced up at her husband and placed her hand on top of the letter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

An Old Cigar Box

“Would you please go into the other office and get the box?”  Al looked puzzled as she got up and came back carrying an old Dutch Masters cigar box.

Mrs. Williams stood in front of Al holding the old cigar box. One of her hands was under the box and the other was across the top. Then she said, “All of your friends gathered up a gift for you.” Stretching out her frail hands Mrs. Williams handed Al the old cigar box. Al’s hand rested on hers for a moment and they both sat down on the squeaky sofa.

Reverend Williams said, “We are not really sure how much the trip north will cost, but this should help.” Al opened the old cigar box to find a mixture of coins and paper money. A few folded and crumpled bills were atop the coins. As Al held onto the box his hands shook and his lip quivered as he tried to talk. Mrs. Williams took Al’s hand, causing the cigar box to slip on his lap. Reverend Williams said, “I didn’t count the money and tomorrow we will go to the bus terminal and find out how much the ticket is.”

Back at the Williams’ home, Al sat on the edge of the bed, with the cigar box next to him. He opened the box and tuned it upside down. He pulled the bills out and very carefully, almost cautiously, straightened them out and positioned each one facing the same. After he had each bill straight he counted them, nineteen dollars in all, a five-dollar bill and fourteen single dollar bills.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Soon and Very Soon

Nearing the end of the service Reverend Williams seemed to be enraptured. He said, “Someday King Jesus is going to return to this old earth and make all things right and peace shall reign.” No sooner had those words left his mouth, Mrs. Williams began playing, “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King, Soon and very soon we are going to see the King.” Most of the folks in the gathering didn’t know the song, but they sure enjoyed Reverend Williams singing. He was as joyous as they had ever heard him.

 He had no sooner finished that song when Mrs. Williams went right into, “Some glad morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away.”  Most of the folks knew that song, and they began singing, clapping and smiling. Al was smiling as he watched his friends, some dressed in rags, unshaven, unwashed, and uncaring about the world outside Agape Station. And he thought, “How great it would have been to witness this wonderful Godly black preacher with his rural congregation.”

It took a few minutes for things to settle down in that converted grocery store. The blessing and glory of God lingered for some time. Even then, Al was looking around at the gathering and most were still smiling and enjoying the afterglow. With a wave of his hand Reverend Williams got the attention of the folks and brought the focus back to the front of the hall. He said, “Folks, I need your attention. Now listen up. Not that long ago the Lord brought a man to us, into our life and into the lives of all of you. Al, come on up here.”