Last weekend, Misty and I traveled back to Lafayette, Louisiana to the church family amongst whom I ministered for eleven years. I preached last Sunday morning, and we spent the weekend enjoying visits and meals with several dear friends. It was a nice weekend full of good memories, good Cajun food, and enjoying the blessing of friendship.
On Sunday morning, I was excited to see my friend, Melvin Davis, arrive for worship. During my last couple of years in Lafayette, Melvin and I met for breakfast each Tuesday morning at Mel’s Diner (no relation). We talked about life, family, and church news but we mostly talked about his life. Melvin is a quiet and humble man. He mostly keeps to himself while enjoying the company of his immediate family. (One of his sons was an elder at the church in Lafayette.) He doesn’t like to talk about himself but, for some reason, during the courses of those two years, Melvin shared his story.
Like most of our stories there were seasons of joy. Melvin loves his family and is extremely proud of his son and daughter. He shared stories about growing up in Chicago and living there for the majority of his life. His eyes would shine as he talked about childhood friends, friends he had made during his adult years and the adventures they shared. He also was proud of his service during the Korean War. Melvin loves his country and is honored to be a veteran. Melvin has experienced many things in his life of which he can be proud and treasure.
There are also seasons of loss and regret in Melvin’s life. His deepest regret is the dissolution of his marriage. There was no infidelity on either part, but Melvin acknowledges he was difficult in his marriage. He worked extremely long hours, was often detached, and distracted when he was home and could be unkind and dismissive. He regrets these actions and his attitude in marriage. (He still remains friends with his ex-wife and visits her every Saturday in the nursing home where she suffers from dementia.) Melvin regrets some of his actions towards others at work and admits he wasn’t always the man God called him to be. Yet, he trusts in God’s grace and feels he has been forgiven. He is at peace with his life.
Melvin is now ninety-one years old. He walks slowly with a cane, but still drives and his mind is still active and sharp. (He continually follows the stock market.) As we caught up last Sunday at a church potluck lunch, it was as if we never stopped talking. We just picked up where we left off at Mel’s dinners close to five years ago and enjoyed our conversation. Seeing and talking to my friend this weekend was such a blessing to me.
There are those older among us who have incredible stories to tell. They have stories of joy, celebration, loss, and regret. They have wisdom to share and insights into life from which we can learn. I encourage you, if you haven’t, to find a Melvin for your life. As the conversation grows, you will be blessed, and they will be blessed as they share. Thank God for the stories we can share and for my friend, Melvin.