On Saturday night, my good friend Amy and I were both granted parole from our wardens (Hubs and PH). We decided to take full advantage of it and sneak ourselves off to a flick at the cinema and eat copious amounts of overly-buttered popcorn together.
I, myself, am not a fan of the Raisinets. I, myself, am not even a fan of raisins, period. Dipping them in chocolate and trying to entice me that way has never worked. I’ve just never enjoyed the dead and shriveled-up grapes at all. If I’m going to eat a grape, I like to eat it at the peak of it’s lifespan, and not after it’s passed on and become a wrinkled carcass. Amy, however, is rather passionate about her Raisinets, and she tends to buy an enormous box of them every time we hit the theater together, so that she can dump them into her popcorn bag. She tells me, over and over, that Raisinets and hot, buttery popcorn are the wonder snack, and she insists that they’ll surely be served together on the buffet in Heaven. I’m not riding on any of the cars hooked to that train; Raisinets need to stay out of my bag of butter. (Literally, I think my popcorn is best summed up that way — a small-sized bag of butter, with some popcorn sprinkled on top. Of course, Amy’s bag is no different. She always asks for a bag of Land O’ Lakes, as well, with some popcorn sprinkled on top and some Raisinets floating in the midst of the cardiologist’s nightmare. It sort of resembles rabbit poo. But I digress.)
On this particular Saturday night, we managed to successfully entice our dear friend, Stephanie, to come out and join us. Stephanie, bless her heart, has lived in Small Town, USA with us for four years now, and she admitted, with her head hung low, that she has only ventured out to the cinema one other time since she moved here. Amy and I were shocked, naturally, as we tend to take in every romantic comedy whose title gets smacked up on the marquee, and we could not fathom missing such epics as “All About Steve” and “The Proposal.”
But then Stephanie has three babies at home. Literally. She has three very tiny, very adorable people living in her house, and having three babies tends to insure that a mama seldom ventures out of the house in the evenings for films and bags of butter.
But on this particular Saturday night, Stephanie left her babies at home with their Daddy, who promised to bathe them and look after them really, really well. We all know the truth there. He was going to bathe them and put them to bed, and then he was going to camp out on the sofa in front of televised sporting events. It’s what dads tend to do, when they are left in charge.
I, myself, had to set rules with Hubs when I left. “If the boy cries, feed him, but don’t feed him sugar. He’ll argue with you, and he’ll buck, and there’ll be tears, but stand your ground and insist that he eat the apples and the string cheese. He’s had so much sugar over the holidays, I think it would have been easier if we’d just had an IV inserted into his arm and a bag of Karo Syrup attached to the pole. We’re weening him off of the dextrose now. No sugar.”
Thankfully, Hubs followed the rules on discontinuing the sugar products with the boy, and THEN he watched televised sporting events, while the boy built enormous Lego structures.
But I’m still digressing, which isn’t at all unusual, if you’ve spent any time at all on this blog.
The real story that I wanted to tell here is simply this: Stephanie’s dad died the week before Christmas. He had been sick for quite some time, and Jesus decided to call him home for the holidays, so that he could have Christmas dinner in Heaven. As Amy picked everyone up in her Jeep (which we fondly refer to as Black Beauty, because Amy has an addiction with the car wash, and her Jeep is always polished like a sparkly gem on display in a jewelers’ case), we had plenty of time for Stephanie to tell us the entire story her dad’s final days here.
And, through her story, Amy and I cried right along with her, until our mascara was beginning to drip, but the part that stuck with me so firmly that night, that I wasn’t even interested in laying down American dollars in exchange for a bag of butter, and which I am still thinking about now, is this: Stephanie said that once her dad met Jesus while he was still living here on Earth, he couldn’t quit talking about Him. She said, “My dad was a mechanic, and he worked long hours in the shop, and he was always eager to share Jesus with everyone who came in. He told everyone the Gospel, and he lived his life as a perfect example of it all. And, when we knew that he was going to pass away in the hospital, the word got out, and people in town started pouring into his room. Truly, he had over one hundred people come into his hospital room to say good-bye that last day, and over half of those people told him, ‘Because of you, I know Jesus, and I know I’m going to Heaven.'”
Over. One. Hundred. People.
That hit me so hard this weekend, as I pictured Stephanie’s dad (having never met him before) having had such an impact on others through his faith that they came out in droves to tell him good-bye and let him know that his own walk with the Lord had brought them to the foot of the cross as well.
And then I thought of my own life. Can I say the same thing? I’m not sure that I can. Do I share my faith with others as easily as Stephanie’s dad did? I don’t think so.
But I’d like to. And I’d like to think that maybe someday, someone will stop by and say, “Because of you, I found Jesus.”
And after a whole lot of thought, I think that this might be my New Year’s resolution. Just to live my life as simply and as faithfully as Stephanie’s dad did.
In the end, we dried our eyes and made sure everyone’s mascara was in place, and then we giggled like school girls over the antics of Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker on the big screen.
It was a good night. It really was.