Normally I come on here and tout my wares as a writer. Right now I'd like to shift gears a bit. We all have gifts or talents that are bestowed on us. Mine happens to be the gift of words. My father-in-law's is that of being a genuine good Samaritan. Today I'm going to use my gift to honor his.
After hearing about the destruction that the tornado did in Joplin, Missouri he dropped everything and made not one, but two trips down there to aid in the clean up. He, along with other amazing volunteers from the Seymour Lake United Methodist Church, worked out in the blistering heat as they waded through the remnants of people's entire lives. Homes, furniture, wedding albums, baby books, all the "things" we put value to were snatched from them when those torrential winds tore through their town, roaring like a freight train. But when last of the gusts died down, and the residents of Joplin could venture out of hiding, it wasn't the "things" that mattered. It was the blessing of their safe loved ones, or the heartbreaking loss of those that had been called home.
Tales came out of the aftermath like that of the man that clung to the leg of his seventeen year old son as the storm sucked him out the sunroof of their car. He lost that horrifying game of tug-of-war. His son's body was found a few miles away. Those with jaded hearts would say, "Where was God in all this that He let this happen?" Well, friends, He was right there in the thick of it. A little girl sought refuge from the storm hiding in the bath tube with her brother. An angel appeared in that room and spoke directly to the frightened child. "I'm going to take your brother with me. But you're going to be okay." And she was. Another little girl was picked up by the storm and carried for miles in those violent winds. When found later, sitting on a curb on the side of the road, she too had encountered an angel. One held her tight as she flew through the air, then set her down on that very curb and told her to stay right there and she'd be safe.
We tend to think that the only help we will get from above is "signs" or feelings to keep us on track and help us do the right things. But that just isn't the case. In the moments we really need it--when everything that ever mattered is torn away--we will not walk alone. And I don't mean metaphorically. A hand will hold yours. A voice will whisper soothing words in your ear. Arms will wrap around you letting you know that you are loved. You just have to open yourself up to it.
To my father-in-law, Pat,
As I stated my gift is words. Yet as I listened to you and your group talk about everything you saw and did in Joplin, I was at a loss of words. Still am. (Shocking, huh? Who knew that could happen?) Proud doesn't begin to describe it. Inspired seems inadequate. Blessed probably sums it up best. I'm blessed to be part of your family, and blessed to have you as a role model in my faith. You said Jesus spoke to you and told you you were going to Joplin. Well He spoke to me today and was quite insistent that I write this. He's a hard guy to say no to. Next time I hope He reminds me to grab a box of Kleenex first, you know first hand what a blubberin' mess I turn into. I hope my words did justice to your inspirational story. And I hope it prompts others to use their gifts for service as well. I dedicate this blog to you with love.