We finished up a series on Fidelity at church today, and we had each been invited to share an example from our lives. There were some very tender stories of aunts and parents and church staff members and friends who have been faithful on a number of fronts.
I have been a witness to Fidelity- in the lives of so many I cannot even count them all and could never do them justice. The example that was on my heart this morning though was of the man who was my father’s dearest friend. One of the last things my father ever said aloud while laying in a hospice bed was to point to him and say, “That’s my BEST friend.” His name is Mr. Hawkins. A kinder, more gentle man would be hard to find. And he has walked the long road of Fidelity.
His faithfulness is far flung and steady and at times unmerited, often times thankless. He has loved his sweet wife since they were teens, with a love that is both tender and fierce. He is a wonderful father, even though I’m sure it was a rude awakening for both of his kids to get out into the world and find that not everyone is as kind or as helpful or as intelligent as their dad. He loves and cares for his church and church family, with that love made real in transporting widows, coaxing an ailing air conditioner compressor back to life, or sitting beside a family who waits while a loved one is in surgery. His faithfulness comes full circle from tilling to planting to harvest to table, and no visiting preacher or family in crisis has ever gone hungry if the Hawkins had anything to do with it.
Even in the face of his own diagnosis with an aggressive cancer and on days when his energy is clearly diminished, he continues to quietly serve others, blessing those whose intent was to bless him.
To use the title of a Eugene Peterson book, Mr. Hawkins has indeed exemplified A Long Obedience In The Same Direction. I think my dad, another great example of Fidelity, chose his best friends wisely.