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Our Current Virtual Church Message

The Clown

Ellison H. Fitzgerald III was one of the wealthiest men alive. He had mansions on four continents, a traveling servant staff, and three itinerary secretaries. No major world event took place without Fitz knowing about it before hand. His security detail was composed of an international security force from three countries. Fitz could not be reached or contacted by anyone except the head of state in any nation you want to name. For all intents and purposes, Fitz was unreachable. Few people knew about him. Wealth and power were what gave Fitz a life. However, Fitz was an empty man. Fitz had an empty life. He had no friends and few acquaintances. The people Fitz knew always wanted something from him. There was also his nasty past.

Fitz grew up spoiled. Fitz got whatever he wanted. No…Fitz got any material thing anyone would want, then some. In the luxury of Fitz's life, there was his anger and frustration of unknown origin. There were times when Fitz hated his life. He also hated all the people in his life. Fitz had an empty tortured soul.

It was 6:35 PM and Sarahette, Fitz's chef brought Fitz's dinner to him on a sterling silver tray. As Fitz began to consume his steak and lobster, a man appeared in the doorway to an adjoining room. Fitz saw the man out of the corner of his eye. Fitz reached for his security alert phone. The man said, "Sorry Fitz, your security system isn't going to work for awhile. Everything in your world is frozen. We need to talk." Fitz went to reach for his alert phone but even Fitz was frozen. Fitz could not move. The man continued, "Fitz, you need to grow up. You need to get real. You need to let go of your anger and frustration. Fitz, you are one of the most powerful people on earth. Unfortunately for you, unless you lose your anger, you will destroy the world. Fitz, I am going to give you the chance of a lifetime. I am going to make you a clown and a pauper. In two days you will have a heart attack. There is nothing you can do about it. No doctor on earth can help you. You will have the heart attack and Sarahette will find you, call 911, and eventually you will survive. While you are in the hospital recuperating the hospital will lose your identity. You will not be able to prove who you are. Your identity will remain a secret for a time. After you recuperate in the hospital you will have no place to go, no money, no possessions, nothing at all. You will be offered a job as a member of the custodial staff at Case Children's Hospital. Although you will be insulted by the job offer, you will have to accept. Once you accept the job, you must dress up like a clown and go about your custodial duties working on the children's ward where all the children are severely ill. Each day, you are to touch the right hand of as many bedfast children as you can. Your job as the clown will last one year. After one year, you will recover and be able to prove your identity.

In an instant the man in the doorway was gone. Everything was back to its unfrozen normal. Fitz reached for the security phone and summoned his head of security. Fitz informed the head of security they had a major security breach. Within three minutes ten security staff had converged on Fitz's dining room. Head of security ordered a replay to be run on all cameras around the room and around the mansion. No person was seen on any of the replay videos standing in the doorway. No person was seen anywhere in or around the mansion other than Fitz and the staff.

Within hours Fitz was sitting in the office of the world's leading heart specialist. A complete battery of cardiac tests was performed on Fitz. No heart problem was found.

Fitz returned home in a mild panic. A day later, as Fitz was pacing back and forth in his office, he had a sudden chest pain. Fitz hit his internal paging system for Sarahette. Sarahette found Fitz unconscious on the floor. Sarahette called 911.

Fitz woke up in a hospital bed unable to remember much of anything. An hour later a hospital administrator came to Fitz's bedside and apologized for losing Fitz's billfold and contact information but assured Fitz the situation would be corrected. Fitz went to write his name and address on a piece of paper but Fitz could not remember his name or his phone number. Fitz's past was a blank.

Two weeks passed. Hospital administrators still had no clue as to who Fitz was and neither did Fitz. Although Fitz was beginning to have specific memories of matters in his life, Fitz could not remember his name, address, or phone. When the time came for Fitz to be dismissed, he was sent to a social service half-way house where Fitz was provided lodging and a temp job. The temp job was being a member of Case Children's Hospital custodial staff. Fitz's supervisor ordered Fitz to dress up like a clown to lift the spirits of the severally ill children on the ward on which Fitz worked.

Fitz remembered the man in the doorway. Fitz remembered the order given by the man. So every day Fitz touched the right hand of every bedfast child. A light began to shine in Fitz's life. Every day Fitz took off the grease paint in the evening. However, when Fitz looked in the mirror at himself without the grease paint, Fitz felt incredibly lost.

One year later, at lunch in the hospital cafeteria, Fitz remembered who he was. Fitz finished his lunch and finished his shift. At 5:15 as was his custom, Fitz took off the grease paint. Fitz walked out of the hospital a "free man" so to speak. Fitz asked a friend for a ride out to Fitz's mansion. After thanking the friend for the ride, Fitz walked up to the guard shack where a new guard asked for Fitz's ID, not knowing who Fitz was. Fitz had no ID and asked for Sarahette to be brought to the front gate. When Sarahette arrived at the gate, Fitz stepped out from behind a stone pillar. Sarahette fainted from the shock at seeing Fitz who everyone thought was lost, abducted, or worse.

Sarahette was revived and identified Fitz. Fitz and Sarahette walked inside his mansion. The old emptiness within Fitz came back in such a dramatic fashion Fitz nearly fell to the floor. The last year had been a life-changer for Fitz. Fitz asked Sarahette to come into his office. Fitz recounted for her the events of the last year. In the next hour or two, Fitz talked with Sarahette. He asked her about her family, where she was raised, and what she liked to do. Questions Fitz never thought to ask or even cared about before his becoming a clown and working with children. Fitz saw the light of soul Sarahette carried. Fitz was grieved he had missed her shining light. In their talk, Sarahette made the comment "Prayers get answered." Fitz asked Sarahette, "Did you pray for me while I was gone?" To which Sarahette replied, "I have always prayed for you. I have worked here five years and I prayed for you the whole time." Fitz was deeply moved. Sarahette had cared about him but being buried under his wealth and power, Fitz never knew.

It was about 10:00 PM and Fitz left Sarahette a note saying he would be back tomorrow. Fitz returned to the half-way house to spend the night. Fitz's mansion was the emptiest place on earth. The next morning, Fitz went to the hospital and put on his grease paint and clown suit. During the past year Fitz's life was not about sweeping floors. Fitz's life was about lifting up sick children.

The next Sunday, Sarahette invited Fitz to church. He accepted. During the next year, Fitz sold off all his mansions, married Sarahette, and expanded his clown job by hiring other clowns for the hospital. Eventually Fitz accepted Christ into his life, and helped start clown ministries in other hospitals.

Prayers get answered.

John 14:14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (NIV)

This story was fiction and appeared in January, 2010, in the Virtual Church web 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