Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
1 John 3:11 (NLT)
If you’re blessed to know my bride, Lynda, then nothing you hear good about her will surprise you, and neither will this story. But it’s a story that is illustrative about how her life and love has changed lives through the years, and in particular the life of one boy named Bernard.
Bernard was a football player at Eastside High School with our son Nathan. Bernard lived in what our community refers to as the east side of town, which some viewed as the less affluent side of town.
It was Football Parents’ Night at Eastside. At halftime the players were to be introduced alphabetically by their last names and then escort their parents across the center of the field. Bernard had no father living at home. His mother said she hoped to come so Bernard could escort her across the rain-soaked field at halftime. It had been raining through the first half of play, and the field was pretty wet and muddy.
As they got to the W’s in the alphabet (Whitaker), we were getting ready to line up and were about to be introduced, while Bernard still waited where we were gathered just outside the locker room; his time to have been introduced had long since come and gone.
He stood there all alone, waiting, looking hopefully in the distance toward the parking lot for a sign of someone coming that would signal to him how important he was.
But no sign came. His mother hadn’t come. Maybe she couldn’t get there in the bad weather. Maybe she thought the weather would cancel the game. Whatever the reason, Bernard stood there all alone, hoping.
But none seemed to come.
Seeing him in tears at the door of the locker room, and with mud all over his uniform, his helmet hanging at his side and his head hanging even lower, Lynda realized what was happening, and was not about to let it happen to that young man.
And so, as she has done so often with a heart bigger than she is, she stepped out toward Bernard, and held out her other arm to him and said, “Bernard, you and Nathan will walk with me tonight as my two sons.”
Arm in arm, the three of them walked across that rain-soaked field as a family, with me walking dutifully and tearfully behind them.
In that simple loving act, Bernard saw his importance. He saw his own value and worth.
To Lynda, his value was not determined by anything, but by what God saw. And God saw a person of worth and value, and so did Lynda. His burdens of rejection were left at the door of that locker room, because in that loving moment Lynda’s act cut through his pain and said to him “Bernard, I love you, and I’m here for you.” The impact that moment had on his life was immeasurable.
For years after, Bernard would call the house and after some polite talk with me, would ask to speak to “Mom.”
It changed his life. Forever.
We are called over and over by God to love one another. Maybe today we can begin to look for those moments when we can love and lift someone to the place God wants them to be.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.