I have never been one to be the life of the party. I’m not the guy who people go out of their way to invite to special events. If I get together with anyone, I’m usually the one to initiate it. But there is one exception!
When I moved to the upstate of South Carolina, God gave me a choir member named Howard. If you know Howard, you know he doesn’t meet a stranger. He was a salesman for most of his career. When Howard is in the room, you know it! The only reason you might not like Howard is if you like the status quo. Howard and status quo don’t blend, and he will be quick to call it out.
Howard and I connected before I officially moved to the area. On my trial weekend, I discovered he had a sister who lived in the town I was getting ready to leave. We had something in common. After I moved to the area, it became at least a quarterly tradition that we would have breakfast together. Almost 13 years later, it’s still a tradition. Despite the fact that we are no longer at the same church, that hasn’t stopped us.
Here is what I know about Howard. I have been through some junk. While some people were quick to write me off, Howard never did. I have watched Howard love people even when they were wrong and royally screwed up. Howard is the embodiment of Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” When I think about the times he has helped me move, lined up people to do repairs at our house when we couldn’t, and a plethora of other things, I almost cry as I think about how blessed I am to have this friend.
Howard is 85 now, but he still plays basketball once a week and mows approximately 3 lawns a day. His wife went to be with the Lord last April, and I had the privilege of walking through some of the journey as his chaplain when she was under hospice care. If you don’t find Howard on the basketball court or on the lawnmower, you will most likely find him in a restaurant doing what he does best – eating and encouraging some man to be the best he can be for the Lord. When I grow up, I want to be like Howard.