My Joy made cup cakes for a SS class social, and prepared her own special potato salad using a receipt from her mother for a family gathering on Father’s Day. While she was occupied I reread chapter 3 of Lederach’s book. It focuses on Jesus as a compassionate reconcilor. Lederach suggested that his readers test their compassion by trying to recall the faces of the last three homeless persons who approached them.
When Joy and I read the chapter together we shared fairly intimate stories. I told her of some events that happened to me in 1960. I was depressed. Some unwelcome events dictated that our family move from my beloved Tampa to the Mennonite colony in Sarasota. I believed then and now that this series of events occurred because I needed to be reassured of God’s care for me.
I had just finished shopping at our local supermarket when a strange man asked me for five dollars to buy a meal. What made him unique was that he asked for a job to earn the money to repay me. I told him I had a job for him and gave him directions to my house. As he walked away from me to the store I supposed that I was seeing him and my five dollars for the last time.
As promised he came to my house next morning. But he needed another meal so he asked me for an advance on his wages. Again, I watched this stranger walk away from me with another of my five dollars. Would I ever see him again? I was pleased when he returned to paint the back porch for several days. But he had his limits.
He said he could not work on Friday; on that day he honored the Father. Nor could he work on Saturday; he honored the Holy Spirit, nor Sunday; the Son must be honored. Finally, work was banned on Monday; it was his day to honor the Holy Mother Mary. But he could and did work on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening he returned to help me move four colonies of honey bees by pickup truck to the country home of Conrad’s biological father who had bought them from me. I explained to him the dangers of bee stings, etc. But he was willing to help me.
Returning to my house, he asked me to let him off near an abandoned Dairy Queen that had been broken into and robbed. I watched as he crawled through the broken class door. That was his home for the night. Who was this man? That was the last time I saw him. Was he an angel? Or was he a man God used to bless me because we were compassionate toward each other?