About seventy years ago, I remember my Dear Mother reminding me that it was “brother’s birthday,” and that I should select one of “my toys,” the one I liked best and give it to him as his birthday gift. This was a strange request for a 4 or 5-year old….give up my best toy…what was she talking about? I was too young to learn the “Golden Rule.” But that day….I did, and I didn’t. I learned the Rule…but I didn’t follow it.
I selected my “least-liked-toy,” and gave it to him. I remember it to this day…a blue metal toy-truck, about 6” long. That was it….and now it was his. But I still had my prized toy. Since then, I cannot remember being CHALLENGED like that again. Sure, I’ve given plenty away, and things that met a lot to me; but…seemingly not important….or…I’d remember them. Right?
Skip ahead 70 years…to last week. My friend, Mick, and I, drove about an hour down the road to meet some friends, three of which… I didn’t know. We met… just so, we could talk about GOD. And, we did….for 3 hours straight. It was genuine, fruitful, and full of Grace. But, that’s not the story.
About 20 years ago, my Dear Brother (the birthday boy), introduced me to Greek Fisherman hats. He was RENOWN for his special selection of Greek hats. I admired them, and once when he was out of the country….I borrowed one of his… and upon his return…he “deeded it to me.” And, later, even, bought me another one… a bit different. The Leather One, I cherished… but someone else liked it too, and was gone, after a few years. I kept the tradition, especially since he died in 2008, and have worn one, I bet, every day since. I only have “one good one,” and another…a bit TATTERED.
When we settled down at the “meeting place,” 2 or 3 of the guys, wanted to know about my hat. I shared the story (as above), and they all wanted one. I promised to bring them one… on our next trip down to the coast. As we were leaving, one of my “new friends,” an eighty-year old Gentleman (and a Bible Scholar); asked for a ride to his house, a few miles down the road.
The whole way down to his house, I was “reflecting-on” GIVING him my PRIZED GREEK FISHERSMAN’S HAT. But, as you may suspect…. No one’s getting “my hat.” Well the “old-fellow” got out of the vehicle (he had an injured foot), and hobbled next to the passenger side, and looking through the window…he said; “Now Charley… don’t forget to bring me that hat. I sure do want one, and I’ll pay you for it.” My heart sank…now what? My throat tightened-up, and my hat is about to disappear…. I said…“Well, you won’t have to wait long…. you can have mine.” (I can’t believe I said it…that was “my hat,” and you know how men are about their hats…especially at age 75).
My hat was extra special, because it had a CHAPLIN’S CROSS on it. That Cross, I had explained earlier (to the guys) kept me on my toes…it represented something SPECIAL, and it was like a “shield of armor,” as it kept me SAFE. But, now…it was his. O’ Clarence; well he didn’t want to take it, but I insisted. Mick passed it through the window…and Clarence looked…well…kind of spell-bound, and slipped it on his head, and “grinned-ear-to-ear.” Now Clarence had the “protection” of that Chaplin’s Cross.
I knew, then, I did the right thing. ….he seemed awfully PROUD. And, I felt proud too, and I told Mick, that I BET my Dear Mother was PROUD, too. As her Motherly advice…seventy years later….finally took ROOT. Matthew 7:11-12 tells us…”If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Sometimes… good “up-bringing” takes a long time, to sink in. That O’Tattered hat began to look pretty good.
Thanks to my Dear Mother, and brother, I did learn a few things…giving is more fun, than receiving.
I Love you both….. Blessings…cjlb…3/16/15.
Photo Credits: cjlb