“It’s yourself, Jay.”
“Good afternoon, Pastor.”
The burly Scotsman greeted me with a thunderous pat on the back. “What have you got for me today, lad?”
There were several items on the Council’s agenda. Unfortunately one or two of them made me uncomfortable. “Mrs Forte has made another complaint.”
The letter did not have to be tabled. However, I needed to acknowledge it.
“Reverend Macrae’s excessive happiness, etc. Man of the cloth, etc. Dignity, etc.”
“Oh goodness me.” Macrae was clearly upset. “You know I wasn’t always a happy chappy,” he offered meekly.
“If the truth be told I was very dour.”
“I find that very hard to believe.” The man was clearly born with funny bones.
“No, no, no,” he insisted. “One day I discovered something about being happy.”
“And what was that?” I asked.
“Let me show you,” he said crossing the room. “What are your plans for this evening?”
“God willing,” I thought carefully. “I’m having dinner with my wife.”
“Ok,” He clapped his hands. “Let’s do an experiment.”
Duncan Macrae opened his office door and spoke in a dramatic voice. “Joy, go before my brother as he drives home to have dinner with his lovely wife.”
He turned to me with his arms out in a triumphant gesture.
“That’s it?” I queried him.
“Well, there is one more thing,” he added. “When something good happens you have to affirm it.”
“And how do I do that?” Pastor Macrae had certainly piqued my interest.
“Like this,” Macrae covered his heart. “This is just a taste of what it will be like to be face to face with God.”
Fifteen minutes later I was deep in thought. As I turned the corner I was surprised to see a policeman standing beside my car.
“The parking meter,” I fumed breaking into a run.
“Brother Jay!” The friendly face turned to greet me.
“Ryan?” Our choir master appeared out of place in his blue uniform. “What are you doing here, brother?”
“My transfer came through,” he grinned dropping a coin into the meter. “And you owe me a quarter.”
I watched with relief as my good friend crossed the road. When he reached the corner he turned and pointed at me.
“Hey Jay!” he called.
“I love you, brother.”
I was still laughing ten minutes later as I pulled into my driveway. Placing my hand over my heart I repeated the affirmation. “This is a taste of what it will be like to stand face to face with God.”
I walked quietly through the house. Each room was filled with tokens of love.
“Hi, honey.” My wife greeted me from the kitchen.
“That smells good,” I said kissing her on the cheek.
“We’re having steaks.”
“What’s the occasion?”
Tracy and I had been married for six years and I still adored her.
“It’s your favourite,” she said sweetly.
Once she had whispered in my ear, “One day you are going to open your heart and let me love all of you. Not just the bits you think I like.” She was right, of course. A nasty divorce can do that to a man.
“I hope you didn’t break the budget,” I fussed.
“Well if I did, you’re worth it,” she smiled.
A familiar twinge of fear gave me pause. But then it happened. I smiled too and then I laughed. I am loved by a beautiful person, I realized. The idea seized my imagination and for a moment there I thought I might cry.
“This is a taste of what it will be like to stand face to face with God. Wow!”
“Did you say something, honey?” Tracey asked as she searched the pantry.
“It was just something our pastor said this afternoon.” I laughed.
She returned with a frown.
“You know, I love that guy. Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “But he has the strangest way of looking at things.”
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