His name wouldn't ring a bell. You probably passed him in the grocery store dozens of times. His appearance was unremarkable. Even here at church he didn't draw attention to himself. He was, like so many others of his generation, nearly invisible.
Floyd died last week.
The service at the cemetery was brief. The Army honors detail did their job with characteristic precision and respect. They presented the flag and played taps before the brief service . . . they had two more services to do that day. Before we started, I spoke to them. "Listen, I know you will do just fine today, but I wanted you to know who this man was. He was shot in the chest and survived the Battle of the Bulge." Their countenances changed.
I asked Floyd once to tell me about his experiences in the war. After feeding his cat, he said, "Now I'm going to tell you what it feels like to get shot. Now I've been kicked by a horse, and this was worse than that." He went on to tell me that the bitter cold and the snow probably saved him, as it slowed down the bleeding, and how scared he was. Almost as quickly as he told me, he said, "That's all I have to say about that."
Floyd had no family and yet his family was there at the service. So many from this congregation took time to come and pay respects to this quiet man. They were his family. I was so proud of our church. It got me thinking about how many invisible people there are in our community. How many seniors are among us whose stories are fascinating if only there was someone to take the time to hear them?
Floyd hated the contemporary worship music we do and was just ornery enough to let us know that fact at regular intervals. Yet he cried every time we joined hands and prayed. When he began lose his memory, I would show up to see him at the care facility. He would smile broadly and say, "Well, I didn't expect to see you come here to see me." [I'm fairly certain he didn't remember who I was.] But that wasn't the point, was it? Whether he knew me or not, he knew someone cared.
Why not ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the Floyds all around us? It's worth it . . . for them and for the Kingdom of God.
Copyright 2006 by Jim Jenkins. All rights reserved.