February 14, 2012

The Gumball Pastor

The following is part of a note I gave to Lois Fitzpatrick after the death of her husband, Herb.  I went to his funeral today.  Along with walking with my parents for 35 years, he also baptized me and helped foster the love I have for Jesus from when I was very young.  He was a mentor and friend.

Some of my earliest memories in my life are of a gumball machine.  As a tradition, after a Sunday morning hug from Pastor, he would invite me to go into his office and get a gumball from a machine fully stocked in his office.

But this was a special gumball machine.  It was free, no quarters needed.

Far from being concerned about the undersides of pews, it was a small gift Pastor Fitz gave to me.  But small tokens often expose great qualities in a man.

For me, Pastor Fitz was a lot like his gumball machine.  Always open, always available, free to dispense knowledge and wisdom, and he was definitively sweet.

His presence was always the understated centerpiece of a room, but what he provided was not something intrinsic within himself, but rather something that was placed within him.  With the love, grace, and humility He received from His personal relationship with Jesus, he then poured out freely and willingly to others.

I am proud to have had Pastor Fitz as my mentor, friend, and spiritual grandfather,
but I am most proud on this day to call him...

my gumball Pastor.

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