Sunday, August 31, 2008

Isn’t Life Strange?

I have often written about Joe.
A man who has lived nearly sixty years, many of them plagued by an addiction to alcohol. A man of great kindness and sensitivity. A man who is able to turn his hand to many tasks, including woodwork, painting, gardening, welding, shaft-sinking on the mines, and much else. A man who is willing to work very hard.

But a man who has his own rhythm of life. After being extremely responsible for a while, needs to take off: which results in him sitting with a friend or two on the street corner outside my church doing nothing but drink from a secreted bottle. He is then either robbed, or does something stupid like get into a fight, and that is enough for him to sober up and begin the cycle with sobriety again.

Well here is the next chapter:
Lynn, my church administrator, came across an advertisement in the local “You Magazine”. This had been placed by two daughters looking for their father whose last known address was |somewhere in Cape Town. And she recognized Joe’s name, and the names of his daughters. He had often spoken of them, but had said that he could not contact them because he had messed up their lives too much. (He often added that he had done something terrible and could not go back.) Lynn showed the advert to Joe and he confirmed that it was about him. And he asked me to contact them as he feared that it was bad news.

So I phoned his daughter, who cried tears of disbelief. They have not heard from him in 12 years, and thought him dead. So they have been placing an advert each month for a year in the hope that someone knew him. And she told a complicated story. A story of a father who was in and out of her life. A father who was both lovable and kind, and irresponsible and unpredictable. A father who drove the family to exasperation, and who had been missed by his four daughters. As they got older so they longed for their father. And longed for a grandfather for their children.

I have spend time in telephone conversations with her. And she is under no illusions. All they want is to see him. And for the grandchildren to see their grandfather.

So yesterday Joe climbed on a plane to Johannesburg.
Pray for this family reunion.


digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Heck Pete, this works at my heartstrings!

Be assured of our prayers. This is such a testimony of ministry and grace!

Glad to see you added word verification... The day after I mentioned it, I got three spam messages on my site... Looks like I need to do the same.

Mev Dominee said...

Hi Bro.

had me and Alet going 'ahh shame' and then swallow hard.

I will pray for Joe. And for you. Keep up the good (and sometimes very difficult) work.

God Bless