A neighbor friend of ours that moved away back in the 70's graduated to Glory on Sunday after a long battle with liver cancer. Yet I remember her as if I had seen her yesterday. And I have comfort... comfort because I know I will see her again.
The year was 1974. I was in the dreaded 4th grade at a school I hated. My neighbor, Mrs. P was there at the bus stop the first day of school when I alighted off the bus, tears rolling down my face. As we came up the hill to where our houses stood side by side she told my mother, "There's only one sad tail here... " Nobody else seemed to mind our new school, but I did. I knew I was in for a rough year.
Mr and Mrs. P were of Greek origin and had four beautiful daughters, whom we played with. They also had a little collie dog named Raindrop who would run around the yard barking as we frolicked outside til it was dark. She and my Mom would sit with their lawn chairs in the front yard chatting away while their husbands worked at stressful jobs, bringing home the bacon.
But the thing I remember most about Mrs. P was that she took the time to open up her house for the kids of the neighborhood to host a Child Evangelism Fellowship- "Good News Club" for all the kids in the neighborhood. My sister reminded me that they moved all the furniture out of their family room so all the kids could cram in. We had Bible stories on flannel board, songs that we sang every week, Bible verses that we would memorize, and a snack. If we memorized our verses, we would get a New Testament.
I was in the midst of the traumatic fourth grade year, and was already well established in my habit of being a worrier. I used to tell Mrs. P my worries and she would listen to me and reassure me. The day came when I had memorized all of them. She presented me with a New Testament called The Greatest is Love, if I recall correctly. In it she wrote a special verse for me:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace
of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7
Someone cared enough to take the time to intervene in the life of a child. How I remember that! How thankful I am for that! Well, the P's moved away back in the 70's, and I lost all touch with them. Somehow my sister started getting Christmas newsletters from them and one time about a year or so ago I got their address. I wrote Mrs. P, and thanked her for having that club, and for caring about me so many years ago.
Her girls got in touch with me and told me that letter meant a lot to her. They have kept us updated as both parents have been quite sick. I sent her one more card a couple weeks before she died. I hope she heard the message.
When I got the news yesterday, I had already been upset by some other long standing issues but it reminded me: Life is brief. If you love someone, tell them now. We all are as dust, a vapor blowing in the wind. I can rejoice because I know where Mrs. P is now. She trusted Jesus to be her Savior, her firm Rock, her only ticket to heaven. She stood on the Solid Rock.
While everything in this world crumbles around us, will you stand on the Solid Rock too? Believe that He did all the work for your salvation today and call upon His name today.