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Previous Message From Virtual Church

No Louie

The following story is fiction but is based upon the real life influence of a man named Warner Gillion. Warner sailed away to heaven in November, 1964. Warner seemed to be the most ordinary of men, until you got to know him.

Louie always sat at the end of the counter in the Wayside Café, in Little Beam, North Carolina. Louie had sat at that spot every morning for breakfast and every noon for lunch for over twenty years. People loved Louie. Louie looked like Danny Devito and Louie could do an imitation of Danny's character from Taxi that made you think Louie really was Louie from the old TV series. But this Louie was no Louie from television.

This Louie at the Wayside Café was the rock of the community. Louie made the café what it was. So magnetic was Louie, that people would come from all over the country just to see and talk to Louie. Louie didn't own the café but he could have. With the power and influence Louie had over people, he could have owned a chain of anything.

One day Louie didn't show up at the Wayside. People were shocked. People were stunned. Louie had always been there. The next day, Louie didn't show up again. For a whole week, Louie didn't come in for breakfast or lunch.

People got concerned. Someone called a meeting at the fire station to see if anyone knew anything about Louie. Two hundred and twenty-three people, not counting kids, showed up at the fire station that day. The trucks had to be taken outside, the doors had to be left up, and there were still people standing outside the building because not everyone could fit inside the station. As the meeting unfolded, questions were asked. Had anyone seen Louie? No answer. Did anyone know where Louie lived? No answer. Where did Louie work? No answer. Was Louie married? No answer. Did Louie have children? No answer. What was Louie's last name? No answer. Was "Louie" really Louie's name? No answer. Remarkably, no one knew anything about Louie. No one knew where he was from, where he was born, where he went to school, or any of the other common kinds of information you know about a person. In this group of over two hundred people, many of whom had known Louie for over twenty years, no one knew anything about him. How could they not know? How could all these people who knew Louie and who loved him, not know anything about him? What was most striking was that as people talked among themselves, they all discovered Louie never forgot a birthday because every year Louie sent everyone a birthday card including the kids. They all got a Christmas card, an Easter card, an anniversary card, and other holiday cards including the children. Louie had given all of their children, and even some of the adults, birthday parties at the Wayside. It wasn't just a few of these people who received Louie's kindness, it was everyone! In addition, Louie had helped people out in sometimes incredible ways. He gave people money, visited them in the hospital, helped them find jobs, and had helped smooth out rough spots in their relationships. It came out at the meeting, unbeknownst before, that Louie apparently even had a healing touch because some people who he had touched when they were sick, claimed his touch had healed them.

The group fell silent as they began to realize they knew nothing about Louie. Then people started realizing something else about Louie. It seems that when Louie talked, he always talked about them and never about himself. No one knew anything about Louie because Louie was always so interested in others and communicated so much concern and love for others, no one ever asked Louie about his own life. People didn't even know what kind of car he drove. As the meeting progressed, people decided to put up posters and get the word out about Louie coming up missing.

The Little Beam chief of police and a couple deputies were at the meeting because they knew Louie and said since it had been a week since Louie came up missing, they would start an official police search for Louie.

Another week went by and not a sign of Louie. Then a month went by. About six weeks after Louie went missing, a guy stopped by the Wayside Café for supper. Louie's picture was at every table. The guy places his order and asks the waitress about the drawing of Louie. The guy tells the waitress that the man in the picture is not named Louie, but Frank. And Frank, it seems, sits at the same place in a diner, in a small town in California. Frank, according to this customer at the Wayside, has been sitting at the counter in California for over twenty years. So influential is this man named Frank, that people come from all over the country just to talk to him and be around him. At this, the waitress calls the chief of police. A few minutes later, the chief and his two deputies stop by the Wayside to talk with the customer about Louie and the guy named Frank. The name of the diner in California is "The Stop Spot" located in White Beach, CA.

After talking to the guy at the Wayside, the chief gets back to the office and calls the diner in California. Oddly, the owner of the diner in California says that Frank hasn't been seen in over a month and people are looking for him. Everyone in White Beach is looking for Frank. Even the police in White Beach are looking for Frank. Not because Frank did anything wrong, it is just that Frank is one of those persons you would never want to really live without.

The chief of police in Little Beam contacts the police in White Beach, California. Through an exchange of faxes with the police in White Beach, a drawing of Frank was faxed to the police chief in Little Beam and a drawing of Louie was faxed to California. From the images on the faxes, the two missing men, Louie and Frank, could have been twins. After receiving the faxes, the Little Beam chief of police then called the police chief in White Beach.

Being the professionals they are, the two police officers converse a bit about the missing people, and the identical appearance. The police chief in White Beach suddenly gets emotional and says that finding Frank is personal with him because Frank is closer to the chief and his family than members of the chief's own family. The police chief in Little Beam relay's the same sentiment about Louie.

Then the White Beach police chief sort of gets a little hesitant to say much more, then suddenly blurts out there is a third man named Roger, also missing, from Crosspoint, Texas. And the third man named Roger from Texas looks just like the other two men. As the conversation goes on, it seems the stories of Louie, and Frank, and the Texas guy named Roger, are all the same. No one knows anything about them. Everyone loves them. People come from miles around to see them and talk to them. They are like magnets to other people. But no one knows anything at all about them. They all appeared at the same time. They all disappeared at the same time.

About two months after Louie disappeared, a minister, a priest, and a rabbi stopped by the Wayside. After they finished eating they asked to speak with the owner. The owner comes out to the table and the three clergymen ask the owner to sit down. After the owner is seated, the three clergymen tell the owner they all know Louie and that Louie is OK. Louie wants everyone to know that he is aware they are looking for him but Louie wants everyone to know he won't be back. It seems Louie had to move on to another location. The three men don't say where Louie is or just exactly what Louie is doing, only that Louie is OK and that no one needs to worry about him. The owner of the Wayside begins to ask all kinds of questions about Louie but the clergymen have no specific answers other than to say Louie is OK and he is in another location.

Before they leave, the three clergymen emphasize that Louie has sort of a final request to the people in Little Beam. Louie's final request is that everyone give away to others what Louie gave to them.

As the clergymen get up to leave, the waitress heard them remark about how their next stops are in California and Texas, and that we all have our purpose to fulfill in life.

Ephesians 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (NIV)

 

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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