I find myself getting more and more contemplative, my memory going over the things that have happened, the things I have done and the things that happened that I had not expected to happen as they did.
One such event keeps coming back to me.
An old lady in my congregation had died and my daughter had been left some small things from the old lady’s possessions. One of the things left was a beautiful gold necklace that my daughter treasured and was proud to have. She kept it in a little box or her dressing table when she was not wearing it.
One day we were sitting watching a programme on television. My son and daughter were just home from school so it was late afternoon. As we sat together I heard a sound out in the hallway. I assumed it was my wife coming home from work and I shouted out is that you home. There was no answer.
We continued to watch the television. Some time later my wife walked in, home from work. We never thought anything more of my thinking she had come home earlier until my daughter went upstairs to find some thing missing from her room including the necklace.
At this time, I had working around the church offenders doing community tasks rather than a prison service. One of them had entered the house and stolen some stuff. When questioned by the police he admitted it had been him he had sold on the necklace and used the money to purchase drugs.
I often think that had I not had that scheme in progress my daughter would still have the necklace, which she even now still speaks of.
On the other hand there were about a hundred offenders who had benefited from the scheme and he was the one bad exception to the rule.
How I wish it had been different. Maybe a bit like this.
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables, and when he picked up a CD player to place in his sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying, "Jesus is watching you."
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight out, and froze. When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head, promised himself a vacation after the next big score, then clicked the light on and began searching for more valuables.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard, "Jesus is watching you."
Freaked out, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
"Did you say that?" He hissed at the parrot.
"Yep," the parrot confessed, then squawked, "I'm just trying to warn you."
The burglar relaxed. "Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?"
"Moses," replied the bird.
"Moses?" the burglar laughed. "What kind of people would name a bird Moses?"
"The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler, Jesus."
In life we try our best and sometimes it just does not work out, but frequently we dwell on the times it did not and forget the many times it did. Rejoice in the good things because dwelling on the bad only spoils future opportunities.