I realize one of the dangers of my last post is to leave the impression that Gustav was nothing more than an afternoon thunderstorm. The comments that readers left were fantastic. Thanks for participating in the discussion. The consequences of Gustav are still being felt. Thousands are without electricity, evacuees are not all home yet, and there is more rain to come to flooded / saturated areas. Trees are down, homes are damaged, and there is recovery yet ahead. Those on the Southeast coast have their eyes on Hannah, in the South we are watching Ike.
Yesterday Northeast Louisiana Food Bank distribution continued at Forsythe Avenue Church of Christ. Ken and Pam Dorsey, assisted by several folks from Forsythe, have done a great job of making this happen. I’m not sure how many evacuees have been by, but it’s a pretty good number. They will be present today again. The Christian Chronicle ran some information about the work, which was kind of them.
Regular readers may remember a month or so ago I wrote a little post about Aunt Bea’s Kitchen and had a picture of Frank, Bea, and Tiffany. Several locals decided to eat a meal there based on that post, and that was encouraging. However, I guess we came along and it was too little too late. Aunt Bea’s closed a few weeks ago. Frank had a knee surgery last month. His surgeon was one of our members, Dr. Sol Graves. Yesterday he saw Dr. Graves and had his stitches removed and the conversation turned to me … and the loss of our son John Robert.
As I was leaving the church building yesterday afternoon the tropical storm winds and rain were really starting to pick up. I locked the door and turned around to see a white SUV pulling underneath the carport near me. The window rolled down and it was Frank. After a minute of small talk, he informed me that he had just heard about our son and had to come over and see me. Frank was grateful that I tried to help his buisness and brought them some joy while we were hurting so badly. He indicated that many people did not know what that kind of hurt felt like – but he did. He passed through the window a picture of a handsome young man … his son … who died 20 years ago at age 15.
Now Frank is a talker, and he told me all about the accidental and unexpected death of his son. This was followed months later by the loss of his mother. He talked to me about leaning on God and how a man couldn’t make it through that without God propping him up. Then Frank sang a song to me. I think the lyrics went something like ‘if a man can’t make it through the storm, God is not his captain‘, but I can’t be sure at this point. I don’t know if I can tell you what an electric moment that was. With the wind howling, the rain blowing around, and this brother who has been through the nightmare of losing a child singing a song of faith to me. I felt that God’s Spirit was so alive in that moment.
I showed him pictures of John Robert and then we had to say goodbye. But I really believe that encounter is one that I will remember in days to come. I think it will be one of those flashes of memory that shows up from time to time unexpectedly. Though their restaurant is closed, they fed my soul yesterday afternoon while I was standing in the storm.
Please pray for my mom and dad. After evacuating to Vicksburg, Mississippi, he had to be taken to the ER and put in the hospital with pneumonia. Any hospital stay is unhappy, but to be out of town and in the hospital is even worse. This is a terribly stressful time for both of them.
Tonight I’ll be speaking at White’s Ferry Road in their series in which they have had ministers from the area speak for the past few months. I’m looking forward to that very much.
Thanks for reading,