Thursday, January 2, 2014
Sofie and Pat both annoyed me. Let me explain.
Sofie was my mother-in-law. During the early years of our marriage there was an oil crisis that made lines at the gas stations incredibly long. Sofie never let an opportunity pass to remind me to keep my tank full. Living recklessly, as young people do, I “played chicken” with the gas gauge. As certainly as the sparks fly upward, there came THAT day when I guessed wrongly about how many miles were left in the tank. Elizabeth and I were stranded. The next time I saw Sofie, she never said a word; the told-ya-so look, and that knowing-grin did her talking. So annoying when your mother-in-law is right!
Pat was my unofficial mentor in the 80’s. A retired country preacher, Pat was a member of our congregation. Pat had a way of reminding me by the way he lived that a preacher has only his life and integrity to bring to the table of ministry and leadership. I once asked him a question about a situation where I had to make a decision. To tell the truth would lead to a hard road ahead; telling a little less than full disclosure could be much better. Pat never did give me an analysis or scripture to shed light on my dilemma. He simply said, “Well, I guess whichever road you take is the road you’ll have to live on.” Incredibly annoying accountability!
In time Pat preached Sofie’s funeral, and then I preached Pat’s. It rained both days and I thought my heart would never heal. How could they leave us so soon?
And yet, it was better.
It’s been about 30 years since Sofie and Pat left us. In all that time I’ve not come close to running out of gas. Neither have I been left wondering about whether to cheat the truth. In all that time Sofie and Pat’s annoying wisdom have been invaluable to me.
It’s was like that with Jesus’ disciples – the Comforter (strengthener), God’s Holy Spirit would come when Jesus left them alone. But Jesus’ words would remain strong in them and empower them to turn the world upside down.
Do you have a Sofie or Pat in your life?