Once in a blue moon, someone comes along that you can truly call extraordinary. Someone comes along that brightens your day and brings joy to those they encounter. No drama, no junk,....
Many reading this already know my wife Alison. You know that she's the kind of person that will do anything for anybody at any moment. With that in mind, I was still a little surprised when she came to me and asked if someone could move in with us. Here we are with three kids of our own. What about their safety? What about their security? Our financial well being? So many questions.... I told Alison I needed to know more before giving an answer.
To my surprise, a day later I received a phone call from the person in question. He was a very polite young man. He was quiet but well spoken and exuded confidence. I was seriously impressed that this High School student "manned up" to have a conversation with me and to ask me if he could move in. It wasn't an easy step. I believe he and I would quickly learn that he had many more difficult steps ahead. He moved in.
I need to take a little time to brag on my children. My oldest son, 14, gave up his room and moved in with his younger brother so our new guest could have his own space. I asked him, "Son, are you ok with this? I don't want you to feel pushed out." His response? "Dad, this was my idea." That's the mark of a true servant when you think more of others than you do yourself. My daughter, 9, immediately took to our new guest. THIS SCARED ME! As a dad, I'm very protective of my children. However, dad's have a tendency to be more protective over their daughters. Especially, when it involves a stranger moving into your home that's taller than me..... My youngest son, 8, ....... Well, he loved it. After all, the new guy had an X Box.... They all loved him.
Out of respect for him and his family, I'll not get into the circumstances that allowed him to move in. There were struggles both physically and spiritually. He was introduced to me as the kid who walked to school..... from quite a distance... in the rain. Nevertheless, he made it happen and graduated with excellent grades. When applying for college, again, he came across hurdles and, again, he overcame and received a scholarship. He then visited the recruiter's office.... The question that he faced?...... "What do you want to do?".... He scored so high that the sky is the limit.
Over the next few months there came preparation. My friend got a job as a camp counselor at the YMCA and, again, quickly moved through the ranks and received a full time position. With his infectious smile and gentle spirit, he made friends every day. People are coming to me on a daily basis and telling me how much they love this guy!
He leaves tomorrow. Before he does, I want him to know how much he has meant to me and that this former guest in my home, this stranger, is now my friend and, though there is no biological ties or papers to say so, I consider him my son. A striking resemblance I might add.... (smile). He probably doesn't realize it, but there is so much about him that reminds me of Jesus. Meekness personified. Constantly pouring himself into someone else.
Tony Mays, it has been a privilege and an honor to have you in my life and to be a part of my family. I pray that God guides you and keeps you safe on your adventures in the years to come as you go into the military. You'll never go alone. When you return, you'll find the door open..... and dishes in the sink!