Friday, December 9, 2011

mr. willie

flipping through the church directory, the page turned and lay flat. my eyes scanned and fell on him. i thought nothing of it and continued my mission flipping through the book.

but my mind didn't continue flipping as the pages did. it drifted back to that man, mr. willie.
his picture-image filled my head. non-smiling, scruffy-long beard graying, receding hair lines at top. his eyes look black. as i look at his picture now they seem to pierce me.

on his back is a black collared shirt with a gray squared design. just by looking at this one particular shirt he's wearing in this picture, one might assume he's a middle class man, not bad off.

but mental pictures taken from past are in the memory and serve well to prove this is not the case. stained, old, ragged t-shirts were a regular staple in this man's wardrobe. seeing him in church, one might have thought someone had picked up a homeless man from off the streets. certain kind hearted souls in church soon began to give him hand-me-downs to wear. he wore them with great pride.

his speech is...hard to understand. slurred isn't the word. his words come out mangled on his tongue.

he can't read. here, a man in his sixties or seventies can only scrawl out his name. the reason for his illiteracy is unknown to me.

he seems to not know what to do with himself. he stands and walks awkwardly, not knowing where to go or who to talk with. {that is, if anyone would talk to him.}

but dad is a man who encourages and mr. willie connected to him. dad would make a point each service to pat him on the back and say words of kindness.

mr. willie doesn't have a job. he picks up aluminum cans on the side of the road and sells them for scrap metal. other people in church began to bring him their cans. but there's something very special about mr. willie.

he gives.

here is a man that has probably a fourth of what most have and he's one of the biggest givers in our church. ask anyone, and they will tell with a smile on their face that "yes, they have gotten such-and-such from mr. willie."

one christmas he gave each family a dollar bill. another year it was a santa pen that lit up. countless bags of pecans he's picked up in other's yards and we've gotten many of those unshelled too.

it's not the gifts that get us. it's his heart.

if i were in his shoes, would all i ever think about be poor pitiful me?

but he gives. and he receives much joy from it. how many stars will be in his crown in heaven? i'm sure he'll have a great big one.

i want to give like mr. willie.

{note: mr. willie moved far away. but his example will never be forgotten.}

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Emma Frances said...

It is amazing that so often those who have the least give the most. Thanks for sharing this sweet story!

Anonymous said...

remember when he came to our house for a Verteran's day celebration? our modest 3-bedroom house seemed like a mansion to him.
he made me feel rich in one sense and ashamed in another...thanks for considering souls for their worth to God, not to man..
love, mom

Yara Simón said...

You're quite the storyteller. =] And this is incredibly touching. Thanks for sharing it.

Autumn said...

This is why I love working with people with special needs. The downside is I always worry that my students will be taken advantage of or treated poorly.

Thanks for sharing your story- it's beautiful :)

kaitlin said...

aw i LOVE this story. It reminds me we can all be rich be rich in what matters to God.

Annie said...

i can't even imagine this: "he can't read. here, a man in his sixties or seventies can only scrawl out his name. the reason for his illiteracy is unknown to me."

as you well know, i am a reader and writer and budding linguist, and i can't imagine not being able to use words in the written way i do now. and i think this, more than anything, illustrates to me that even the least of us - or what society decides is the least of us - can give, can be, can do, all in Jesus's name.

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mary grace said...

what a sweet and touching story! mr. willie sounds like an amazing man. i pray that i too can give like him!

Christi Lynn said...

this is such a sweet post. i love stories like this. thanks so much for sharing :)

Elle Sees said...

ugh, i still get eye scrub comments! phooey.

but back to your post, i spent november giving back,and feel like i could never do enough
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Nina said...

that's a great story, very heart warmning. i love to give!hope you can check out my blog, for some +vibes and inspiration! i have 2 GREAT giveaway going on to! very easy to enter!xo

Courtney said...

Awesome! Love this story and how you told it!

Dearest Lou said...

Oh wow what a lovely story! This is such a great story shows how selfless he is!

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