The other day, the our staff was assembled together after the staff meeting, sitting around and joking as usual, when Carrie brought the offering box up to the room. She was bringing it to finish collecting the offering and had noticed that the lock mechanism had been tampered with. Of course, Jonathan Knepper, the world's most resourceful person, was able to simply put the mechanism back into place and a minor crisis was averted. We opened the box and pulled out the usual checks and connection cards, when at the bottom, a regular card was found with my name on it.
Being the suspicious type, I checked for ticking and then held the card up to the light to see if there was any powder emanating from said envelope. I was glad to see that it was "clean." I slowly opened it and saw a Black Angus gift card with a really sweet note from one of the members of Kingsfield Church. It really blessed my day.
I went into to tell my wife that I was going to take her to dinner on Friday night. We went last night and had an excellent night together.
I regret that I do not know who gave me that card, but if you happen to read here: Thank you very much! The timing was perfect and the food was delicious. Thank you for thinking of me and for your kindness.
And speaking of kindness, the very next day, I arrived to a bit of a surprise. You see, it's my birthday on Monday. I have never been real keen on birthday celebrations for myself. If it were up to me, I might just skip it. Of course, every year, I am reminded that it's certainly not up to me!
I had been as cryptic about my birthday as possible, but our crack staff, lead ably by the Celebration Committee (Carrie And Simone), ascertained the precise date of my birthday by using their powers of observation, their skills at arriving at a date by context clues and by simply asking my wife, who apparently gave up the information with little to no prodding!
So Thursday, I get to church, as I do every morning, at 8:49AM. There is immediately something askew, for there are other cars in the parking lot! I am always the first one there, by at least 5 minutes. Immediately, I suspect that I am about to be "surprised."
My fears are further exacerbated by the eerie silence that greets me atop the stairs. Another thing about our staff is our aversion to silence. If we are in the room together for more than 60 seconds, there is laughter and joking and usually, a Youtube video. This particular morning, it was deadly silent. "Where could they be? What exactly was I in for?"
I decided to step into my office to drop off my stuff and investigate. Coming around the corner, I hear a strange siren sound. Now I know something is seriously amiss. I come down the corridor to my office, put the key in the door and...
They are all in my office!! Balloons are everywhere, "Happy Birthday Frank" sign on my window and a grip of Cherry and Strawberry Starburst on my mouse pad, separated specially by Carrie Allen! Of course, the obligatory rendering of that classic tune "Happy Birthday" was attempted, with somewhat cacophonous results, but as they say, it was the thought that counted!
I laughed and was thankful for their effort and their love, which is always apparent. I was grateful, not so much for the celebration, but for the celebrants, who have become a rich part of my life. There was Chris Norman, a brother who I've know since 1991 and then when we were both in Attila's band together in the mid 90's. Chris Reinhardt, who I've known since he was 11 years old. Carrie, Jonathan and Simone, who have been great new friends and allies since my coming on staff almost two years ago now. I felt lucky to be there and to receive the love from them. Even though I am a grumpy, reluctant birthday celebrater, these friends drew me out and made my day!
I wish that that day would have ended right there or that I could just skip to the great Chipotle lunch that the staff treated me to. However, that's not what happened next! I had a blowout at the bank that I make a deposit for the church for! Right on my way in to the parking lot, minutes after the great celebration! Thankfully, the staff's joyous surprise carried over and I did not worry much about this. In fact, the occasion caused me to laugh even more when at the tire place, just seconds from the bank, I spotted this abnormality:
It made me laugh in that moment, though now, I think it's pretty silly to have laughed at a giant remote! I think it was a little of God's grace for that moment and the touch of kindness from my friends.
Blessings...To Our Friends,