Years ago, I have this friend in the church. Her name is Lenie. She’s an accounting graduate. She’s a single parent. No, she was never married. Maybe you have an idea, but it will be a long story if I will tell you. One thing is sure: she’s intelligent, soft spoken, and nice. We were closed. I consider her my best friend. Most people in the church thought I am courting her, even OLD CHURCH PASTOR. Yes, I like her company, but the concept of another serious relationship was not my idea (a year of being suspended and a “playboy” tag? I was so afraid to have another girlfriend) back then. Her being a single parent is such an issue, even if the people don’t admit that in my face. Actually, back then, having a single parent for a girlfriend is no big deal to me, especially if she has no previous marriage. After all, there are other virtues aside from virginity (contentment, humility, industriousness, etc). Issues were raised, until I was given a “round table conference” (rebuke) by the then-youth leaders. Here’s the catch: they did it a day before my birthday, and the place is in a restaurant where I gave them my birthday treat. Classic torture chamber. My side was heard, but never listened. That’s another story. The last time I saw her was around 2005. The youngsters (especially youth leaders) in those times have mixed opinions on this. Some called me a “girlfriendless playboy” (which is the most unfair because you have no right to be friends with single ladies or that tag). Some understood me that I’m friendly and sweet (no objections please. Whatever the case, it’s understandable. You can’t please everybody, and I know what things I really did.
Then, just last night (September 28), a text from an unknown sender came up, wanting to talk to me. I parked my car in a gasoline station. I was with Amie. I called up. It’s a male voice. He asked if I know someone by the name of Lenie. I said definitely yes, she’s a friend. The male voice happens to be Lenie’s husband, NOW A PASTOR SOMEWHERE IN SUBIC (I wanted to yell at the critics). She is now a Pastor’s wife. Praise be to God, and I will not apologize for this: this is a lesson to all critics out there, whoever you are. If we are really under the dispensation of grace, then apply it: don’t be too technical! There are many things to do in God’s vineyard, and we just waste our time being too technical that a single parent can’t marry a preacher!
I was surprised how thankful she is for me for being a good friend. I don’t expect this, honestly. Years ago, she thanked me for the things that I did for her, most of them I didn’t even recall. She remembers how I paid for her youngest sister’s tuition in college.
I am quite teary eyed, I just didn’t make it obvious to her and to Amie. God used Lenie to encourage me. It’s like, “it’s not in vain, Ian”. Pastor James, when I shared this, said that this is another vindication of who I really am. Humorously, there is no device to pierce these truth straight to my critics’ (be it active or “indifferent”) hard headed shell called skull.
Seriously? I didn’t expect this encouragement, but this, I admit is so sweet and morale boosting. At those times, all I did was care and try to be a friend. I didn’t know that this was the impact to her. God is so good to me, why will i be so bad to others? Honestly, there are times that I am tired of loving other people that don’t love me back. After all, those people who love me are usually affected when I get sad because of this.
May that friend of mine be blessed by God abundantly. People who sees other people in what they can become for God’s glory is worth praying for! People who acknowledges God’s grace by being gracious (friends and brethren, no matter how hard we try to be good and ecclesiastically acceptable, it is STILL God’s grace working in you) to others is a good ambassador of the dispensation of grace.