Friday, June 2, 2017
“Any act of kindness, no matter how well intentioned, can go horribly wrong.” ― An old, fat American missionary in Tanzania named Charles
Sometimes I listen to the little devil sitting on my other shoulder saying, “Go ahead, do it!” So I did. I was the pastor of a church in a small town (population about 1,000), so I changed our church sign to read, “Karen Wiggins has a birthday coming on June 2nd, and all I can say is: LORDY, LORDY, KAREN’S FORTY!” I then put it in the bulletin for that coming Sunday’s service. Then I printed about fifty small posters on colored paper that said the same thing and put them in store windows up and down Main Street (including Bob and Sandy Kelley’s window). I also paid for an ad in the local paper that said the same thing (thanks to Dodie Evans). A friend who was a realtor put the words on some of his “For Sale” signs and we stuck them in yards of people who didn’t mind. What greater gift can you give the one you love than to make sure everyone knows her birthday is coming, and it’s a big one? I figured I was really showing her just how much I really loved her. The church members and most of the townspeople weren’t so thrilled with my actions. I got calls (this was before emails and Facebook) and was accosted on the street and dressed down for my actions. During church that Sunday, a church member stood up and told Karen that they did not approve of my actions but were standing by her and told her that forty was not old by any means. Many others sent her cards that told her how forty was not the end of the world but just the beginning. How did Karen react? She loved me, hugged me and kissed me for giving her the best birthday she ever had. You see, it wasn’t her fortieth birthday, it was her fiftieth. I gave her ten years back, and she was very grateful. She still doesn’t look her age and people here don’t believe she is over seventy—or over sixty if you subtract those ten years I gave her on her fiftieth. I don’t know if she will tell you she’s glad she’s lived all those years, but I damn sure am, and so are thousands of children in several states, on three continents, and in at least four countries. She has filled her years with loving others, teaching others, and modeling the kind of caring Christ has called us all to do with her life. Others have written that she inspired them, and I believe them. She sure inspired me, and her love for me is the best thing that ever happened to me bar none. If you’re lucky, you will have had someone like her in your life. If you’re very, very lucky, you will have had her in your life. And you can take that to the bank.