Betty and Tommy walked into our church one Sunday many years ago. Tommy was a special needs child a young teen. I loved doing visitation so I made a visit to their home. There on the couch lay Jake, obviously in a hangover. During many visits, I would find him in the same place and the same condition.
Do you ever feel superior? How about when you see a redneck’s cracker box trailer? Or when you see a car standing on cinder blocks? Seeing teens with pants dragging? Or a obese couch potato? Three rooms decorated with sea shells?
Betty and Jake’s home was neat and the yard was uncluttered. The rooms were very small but orderly. They did not appear to be deprived of necessities.
I did love those people and I visited them a lot doing a few helpful things like taking Betty to the doctor. She had cancer. She cooked the most delicious fried potatoes and often had them cooking when I came in.
She lost the cancer battle. She had three adult children, two sons and one daughter. Her family asked me to sing “Where Roses Never Fade” as one son played the guitar. Tommy remained with Jake, at least for a short time. I don’t know how long.
I continued to visit Jake a few times. God put compassion in my heart for him. What caused Jake to hit the bottle? What if someone had offered help earlier? What if?
I ask myself “what if.”
What if my parents had not decided to drive me the fourteen miles to catch the bus to go to high school?
What if my daddy had not paid my college bill up front?
What if my first boss had not had a heart of gold?
What if I had had polio?
What if my mom had died when I was six?
There came a time when Jake was gone. I called his son, who told me that his dad had got off the alcohol and he believed he had made things right with the Lord at the end.
(follow Jake’s story next time)