“If it hadn’t been for the horse, I probably would have gone to college”.

[O]nce again a brilliant piece of writing I wish I could call my own. Actually, the sentence came to my ears third hand from a man who found himself behind two young ladies in line at Von’s Supermarket. I am told that it was all that was overheard of their conversation, leaving this gentleman to guess and ponder what may have come before or after, which would have provided context. I love that this small portion was all that was heard as it provides room for the imagination to go outside and romp around the playground. My father used to say to us kids, “if dog rabbit”. If dog rabbit in response to our constant goings on about “if this” and “if that”. My father was a very linear and practical thinker, not having a lot of time for the what ifs of life. He cared to discuss facts, share facts and allow decisions to be made based on the here and now, what was tangibly visible.

Deb, occasionally, but occurring less often, will refer to me as “Fuzzy”. My father’s given name was Frank, but nearly all, other than his children and professional associates called him Fuzzy. When I am behaving in a manner which reminds Deb of her father in law, she will teasingly call out, “ok Fuzzy”. I get it and when I hear those words, she is generally correct. I have taken on many of my father’s characteristics, some of the good and some I could just as soon do without. My father taught me how to work. My father modeled how to love his wife. On the other side of the coin, suffice it to say, certain sins of the father’s had not filtered themselves through all three or four generations. In one particular way, I am not my father. Each day, seemingly, I have become more and more a what if kind of man. I allow myself to pause, think things and dream things. Granted, most of the big ol thoughts that bounce around up there come to naught but I think and dare to dream all the same. I truly enjoy a good what if from time to time. I have a what if for you now and I am hopeful we can turn this from thoughts and dreams to reality.

I received a call from a Noemi Vidal from St. Joseph’s Hospital today. Noemi headed up the brilliant and beautifully kind care that our friend Randy Evans received while in her hospital for forty plus days. Randy, sadly did not leave the hospital with breath but please allow your ears to hear that he received every chance and every bit of expertise available to become well again. What I most took away from that experience was the witnessing of compassion given, grace extended, with never a wavering based on our friend’s ability to pay. Noemi called me and told me of a patient she is caring for who has been with her at St. Joseph’s since before Thanksgiving of last year. She tells of a man who is lonely. She tells of a man whose sister, living in Rancho Cucamonga, has not visited her brother since his arrival at the hospital. She tells of a man who is desperate for a friend. Noemi wondered aloud “if your ministry could reach out and spend some time with this man”? What if? Hmm, what if?

There has been talk around “our ministry” that we have too many volunteers, that we need to expand our influence making room for the folks who desire to serve alongside. With thoughts of expansion, come thoughts and then discussion of dollars. How do we expand until additional monies arrive to fuel such expansion and new leaders are trained who will then take “ownership “of the burgeoning ideas? I say hmm, what if? What if we rained friendship and kindness upon this man until he could take no more? What if we sat with him, talked with him, read to him, laughed with him, brought joy to him until he called uncle. It is so simple as to be brilliant; it costs nothing to be present to another human being. We need no training to be kind. What if Noemi has called us with a request but is actually speaking for God, God simply answering our question, what are we to do next? What if? Or said in a much more poetic manner, “if it hadn’t been for the horse I probably would have gone to college”.

My request, made in all sincerity, is that you would get involved. My heart sings out that this is goodness defined. This is joy, and as you are aware, we are the church!

I will be visiting this man on Saturday, the 2nd of February. I will have his information for anyone who would like to stop in, chat with him and cheer him up a bit. Please contact me for details.