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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Dear Gloria,

How I miss you! I know writing you a letter when you are in Heaven seems like a stupid thing to do. Somehow I think God will pass along what I write. I thought that I would get over your being gone after awhile. But the pain of your dying has never left me. I think when you died, so did most of me. We spent so many wonderful years together. We had tough times for sure. There were times when we did not know whether we would have enough money to eat or pay the bills but somehow we scraped through.

I suppose the reason I am writing to you is because of the visitor I had the other day. I still go into our store every day. Here I am, 87, and still getting around. It was a long time ago, but we started this store right after we were married in 1940. Today they call what we started a convenience store but back then it was a grocery and filling station. Today, all the shelves in our store are bare and I had the gas tanks taken out a long time ago. A few years ago a guy stopped in and wanted to buy all the signs, fixtures, and the gas pumps to put in some kind of 1940's museum but I said no.

But the visitor I had the other day really shook me up in a kind of a good way. Well, I was sitting here in the store watching TV when this guy pulls up in a 1948 Dodge with four doors. His car looked brand new. Just like the 1948 Dodge we bought. His car looked just like it came off the showroom floor. Remember all that chrome on the dash? Remember all those ivory colored knobs on the inside? Remember those plush seats? Remember those wide whitewalls on the tires? His 1948 Dodge was just like the one we used to own. Anyway, this guy comes into the store and I figured he was going to ask for directions to somewhere because no one comes into the store now unless he or she is lost. I haven't had a paying customer in here in years. Anyway he comes in here dressed in a 1940's white suit with wide lapels and wearing a white hat right out of 40's fashion magazine. You should have seen him!

He said his name but I forget what it was. I don't know but there was something really different about this man in a nice way. I asked him what I could do for him and he said it was what he could do for me. He wanted to know if I had a few minutes to talk and I said sure and I invited him to sit down. We talked about the weather and such and then he starts talking about you and me. He seemed to know all about us but he was too young to know us when you and I were younger. This guy was maybe in his late twenties. He even knew things about me that no one else would ever know. He knew about things I did as a kid no one else could ever know. We seemed to sit and talk for hours. I must be crazy but it seemed like time stood still because we must have talked all morning and all afternoon and the clock didn't move and the sun didn't move across the sky. I started to ask him all kinds of questions about himself but he never gave me any good answers. I asked him where he was from but he didn't really say anything specific. I asked him what he wanted but all he said was he just wanted to talk. We talked about your dying and how lonely I have been all these years. I don't know how he knows this but he told me you were doing great and that you were young again. He told me I will see for myself how young you are. We talked about dying and Heaven. He gave me a good feeling about things. Of course, I know I can't live too much longer being my age. I still try to get to church but the congregation has dwindled down and the few people that are left are getting up in years like me. Sooner or later we will probably have to turn the church property over to the state organization to be sold. It is really sad but I guess that is the way things go. We haven't had a minister in several years. Now we just gather together and pray together and talk about how things are going.

The young man kind of gave me a view of my life. There were so many things I wanted to do other than run a store and a filling station but with you by my side, it didn't make much difference about what I did or anything else. In a way I cannot explain, he showed me how much of an influence we both were on other people. I never thought of it before because all we did was run a little store and filling station but this young man told me about the life of every person who ever came into our store and how our being here made their life so much better. He showed me how we helped people even when we didn't know it. I know I shouldn't say this but I think I can die in peace because this man stopped by the other day. I miss you so much, but I am better today because this man said we would see each other again. I can't wait to hold your hand and to take a walk with you like we did so long ago.

The young man took me for a ride in his car. I swear if I didn't know better it was our car. Remember how our glove compartment door wouldn't quite close fully? This car had a glove compartment door just like it. I know I'm rambling but some really strange things happened when the young man and I were riding in his car. The strangest thing was that we drove over really bumpy roads but you couldn't feel the bumps. The suspension on that car was really something. Riding in his car was like riding on air. I also noticed how quiet the car was. The car was so quiet you couldn't even hear the engine. It was so strange in that car. The car is over fifty years old and it not only looks new the car even smells new! When we got out of the car after we took a drive we raised the hood to look at the engine. Looking at the engine is sort of a man's thing to do. I cannot explain it but the engine was not hot and the engine was as clean as a pin. I didn't see a speck of dirt, oil, or grease anywhere on that engine!

When the young man and I were talking I told him about how wonderful Helen was after you passed away. She used to call me every day and bring food over to make sure I got enough to eat and make sure I was OK. She still does this occasionally but she has had her health problems and she isn't able to get out like she used to. I remember I told the young man that if it is the last thing I ever do I want to call Helen and tell her again how much I appreciate her and all she has done. The young man said that as soon as I call Helen to thank her he will come back and he and I will go for another ride in the old Dodge. I wonder how he will know when I have called her?

Well, I will close for now. I am going to call Helen. She has been invaluable to me. She is the essence of what a Christian should always be. I'll hang on to this letter and when the young man comes to take me for another ride, if he doesn't mind, I'll put this letter in the glove compartment just like I put those little love notes to you when we had our own 1948 Dodge.

I still love you and I still miss you.

Love,

Hank

John 15:17 This is my command: Love each other. (NIV)

This story appeared as the February, 2004 Virtual Church message int Shepherd's Care Ministries virtual church site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018