The tall, trim Wisconsin lumberjack, clad in clean overalls and a checkered shirt, held the hand of Cresiansa Rios, his soon to be bride, as they walked to the church. On the other side of the avenue, on lunch break from her Christmas-rush job, a reluctant Karen made her way. And on the highway from the west, contrite, desperate, Harry approached.
The four arrived at the same time and I led them up the rickety back steps of the old church.The auditorium was lovely, smelling of spruce. Colorful tree lights and window candles in balsam wreaths added a soft touch.
Being new at the church, I knew little of Harry and Karen’s early history. Smitten by the handsome dude in his military uniform, Karen married Harry, though he was often unpleasant and had a taste for gambling. Their first baby arrived just before Harry was assigned overseas.
He returned in a few months with arrogance, drinking, and gambling increased. He took a job at a local department store. On a sales trip, he gambled away company money and was arrested. His parents made restitution allowing probation for Harry.
Finding a job in a neighboring town, Harry again gambled away company funds. VHis freuent betrayals of Karen became known. Karen’s family funded divorce proceedings and Harry faced jail. A second child was on the way.
I was off to my former church for a long weekend when Karen’s family contacted me. As a ruse to win back Karen, Harry was claiming to have become a Christian.Realising the mess he had made of his life, he had come to my study. Finding me gone, he hitchhiked 50 miles to talk with the pastor of a sister church, where he accepted Christ. He knew our vocabulary. Like the rest of the congregation, I didn’t buy his story.
Harry was waiting when I returned.He came to my study and beggedd me to urge Karen to let him tell her how sorry he was. He fell to the floor in anguished prayer, tears flowing. My heart melted and the miracle mill began to grind.
Old Grandpa Lloyd