|His Family (standard:non fiction, 1130 words)|
|Author: Anonymous||Added: Jul 30 2001||Views/Reads: 1637/1038||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A stranger comes to a small midwestern town. He has no family or friends. He enrolls in a small sectarian college, but drops out. A very small church meeting in the chapel of that college adopts him and gives him his first real home, and for that mat|
"His Family." It was an early Spring Sunday, in a small Midwestern town, and it was 8:20 am, an ungodly hour for a supposedly "godly" man and his wife. An Episcopal Clergyman for many years, he had just retired, and this was to be his first small church to watch over, now that he was free of a regular work routine. The Father (Priest) and his spouse of forty years arrived at the campus of the small sectarian college, in which the little church held services in the chapel. They arrived engulfed by a chilly, windy downpour. Not knowing where to park or where to enter the building, I got out of my car and ran from one side of the building to the next. I checked this door and that, and finally found one open. After parking our car, my wife and I gathered my vestments and hurried inside the cold, damp building. No one seemed around at first, but then we saw him at the end of the long hallway. He had his white vestments on, and his huge belly was what was most noticeable about him. He had a Santa Claus like beard, and dark piercing eyes; and he said nothing as we approached him. We introduced ourselves and he very briefly replied in a rather gruff and deep voice. There was no welcome, no offer of help, no direction to the rest room, just that dark stare. Who was this character? What in the world was I getting myself into, I asked myself throughout that morning with the very small congregation. What were they doing here in this chapel, twelve of them in a room which could seat at least a couple of hundred. And "K", as I will call him, what was he all about? Some time later I visited him in his apartment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. He came to the door looking very startled, even rather scared. There was no place to sit, he had to put back together a chair that had fallen apart. Although church members had helped him get this apartment and moved him in, it looked as though nothing had changed since moving day. Almost everything was still covered with duct tape and plastic. Boxes and books, and other items were piled onto each other. He sat there looking at me with the same mixture of suspicion, fear, and a hint of hostility. He kept fiddling with a broken pipe, as I tried to engage him in conversation. Again, and again, he tried putting the stem of the pipe back into its bow, but it just didn't work. He kept cleaning and cleaning the pipe with a dirty pipe cleaner, blowing and blowing into it; and then seeing it fall apart again. It was very obvious he was extremely uncomfortable, and although I became rather uncomfortable myself, I did learn something about him. Years ago he had visited an Episcopal Church in a nearby Midwestern city, on the Sunday before New Year's Eve. It was his first visit to this large affluent parish, and the priest invited him to join his family on New Year's Day. And so began "K's" "membership" in a church which would seem not for someone of his "place in life." Years later, he moved to this little college town, to complete his education, but never finished. The leaders of the little church also took him in, and took care of him.They found him an old car, which is now filled to the brim with junk and decayed food. They found him a place to live, and a menial job at a local industry. "K" became a reader of the lessons, an adult acolyte, who helped with the Communion Service, for they bought him some very nice vestments. He took his turn providing snacks for the weekly coffee hour. He even became, what is called in the Episcopal Church, "the Junior Warden." The Junior Warden is meant to be in charge of property and grounds. However, because this little church had no property and grounds, it meant "K's" main duty was to get the mail during the week, and distribute it on Sundays. Each Sunday, on the coffee hour table, one could see plastic shopping bags with different names written with magic marker. "K" had sorted the mail and put each person's mail in their labeled bag. Sometimes, though, he would misdirect the mail or lose some. No one dared say anything critical, for "K" was very sensitive. As I got to know "K" better, I realized he was extremely intelligent. He so enjoyed providing videos he had purchased for our Coffee Hour Sunday School Hour. These were very intellectual lectures, on complicated theological and historical subjects. When I said I was not interested Click here to read the rest of this story (32 more lines)
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