Duh! How do you argue with that? They didn’t. He went. He was a little late, he wanted to change clothes at home first. Gotta wear good clothes, dress up on Sunday….some things are just ingrained. They were Cinch jeans, pressed and ironed (guess that was better than Wranglers). He was prepared (mentally). We got there during greeting time. Just barely got in the door before he was DROWNED in greeting….but he was not overwhelmed. I was afraid he might be…sometimes he does get over stimulated. He wasn’t. He was fine. I was standing behind the chair….listening as the people told him how good it was to see him…that they loved him, had been praying for him. I’m kinda a hard case, not easily convinced. But I heard their voices tremble, tears in their eyes. They were sincere….Levi knew it, that’s why he wanted to come here, to see THESE people. There are a lot of other churches that faithfully send him prayer grams. But he could only be in one place today…and that was HOME! Maybe one day he can visit the other churches that have been lifting him up. He is actually a little overwhelmed by it…all these people…praying for me? WHY? I don’t even know most of them!
That’s alright, Bud. They know God, and love Him. He knows you, and loves you. So….they love you, too. “Dad, you’re not BS me, are you?” No, Bud…I’m not THAT good…..look in their faces….see the old ladies crying? The little kids eyes beaming? Them little kids think you’re a walking miracle…just the other day you told mom it would be a miracle if she could get that @#$! phone to work! LOL. The preacher today, Brian, he was talking about seeing God, in the image of a man, his vessel. These people, Levi, they look at you and they see God’s vessel... Dad, that makes me feel small…..and unworthy. I know, Bud…..all you wanted to do was come and say thank you, huh? Uh-huh. That’s ok, Bud, they’re just trying to say thank you, too. BUT, DAD….THEY’RE LOOKING AT ME!!!! It’s ok, son….they may be looking at you, but they are thanking God. That’s creepy, Dad. It gets better Levi.
We sang “Victory in Jesus”. Levi wanted to stand, everybody else was standing….and after all, how can you sit and sing Victory in Jesus? His diction is not the best, he slurs a little, anyone who wanted to find fault surely could have, but I dare anyone to challenge his sincerity. I was on his right, Cristy on his left. I was trying to think….probably been at least 10 years since I heard him sing in church. But, you know me, I was thinking a myriad of other stuff also. By the first verse I was already thinking of Grandma Leone….remembering sitting with her there as a child in that same church, singing that same song. I remember it was often a highlight of the church service when she would whistle on the “crystal sea” part, but that doesn’t come till the 3rd verse. Aren’t I bad???? I am wondering if Sharon or Jeff or Toya or Tom or Bill or Beck or Leah (the other cousins) if they remember sitting with Granny, hearing her “whistle” Victory in Jesus? By now Sheryl, Regina, Glenda Kay, Rocky, Elaine, Richard, John, James….other cousins may be rolling, but I think not….I think they are remembering those bygone days also….and smiling. And their kids….they’re just sitting and saying “WHAT??? You have to explain all this stuff!” They never wanted to hear all those boring stories before did they? (wink)
Yeah, Levi didn’t used to want to go to church either. But then today its like he’s the main attraction… and the preacher is preaching about seeing the spirit of God manifested through the vessel of man. And God’s handiwork and intervention and all that stuff….yeah, just a coincidence…..and J.L. Bass just winked at me from Heaven.
(J.L. Bass was our preacher when Esther and I were a young married couple. And our Sunday school teacher. He baptized Luke. )
When they asked Levi where he wanted to eat lunch, He said “DuuuUH!...NANA’s” “I haven’t had her cooking in like 4 years!”. Well, 4-5 months maybe, Levi. We had chicken-fried steak and a whole table full of trimmings. We all ate our fill. We sat outside a while and watched the kids play freeze-tag and stuff. Levi saw the horses, but said he’d wait till another time to ride. He saw pictures of the crashed plane on the computer that Dale, Doyle, the Holts and others had taken. He was amazed. (Aren’t we all?)
By 5 he was getting pretty tired and took a short nap before it was time to head back to Lubbock. He said, “I’ll be back”. Ever think about running for governor of California, Levi? (smile)