{Straight From the Heart}   *Peace*  5/25/00

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By:  Irene Budd

Slam!  The front doors of the church shook with the impact of brass 
meeting brass, the sound invading my reverie. Intently listening to 
the priest's sermon, my concentration was broken-again.  This promised 
to be another Sunday just like all the others.  

Skipping up the center aisle in his electric blue sneakers, knee high 
black socks, plaid shorts, mismatched tee shirt, and dirty baseball 
cap jammed backwards on his  head, Bobby sounded his entrance.

He stopped at various pews along the way, stage whispering loud 
'hellos' & waving madly, doing little tap dances when he recognized a 
face.  All eyes were on him as he crowded into an already full pew, 
right smack in front of the priest.  

How bold!  Didn't he have any courtesy for others?    Why couldn't he 
be like everyone else & get to church on time?  I was getting tired of 
this routine and was ready to walk out of church-permanently.  How 
could I worship with his noisy interruptions?

Then there was the collection.  Towards the end of the homily (as if 
anyone was still listening) Bobby would bolt upright, shove his hands 
into his pockets & look for change.  If he had not brought any money 
with him, he'd turn to each & every person around him & panhandle for 
quarters for the collection basket.  He'd thrust his palm in front of 
an unsuspecting worshiper until it was filled with a coin.  The way he 
counted out his coins & flung them into the basket, one would think he 
was giving a his life savings.

When Bobby prayed, his voice boomed as if he was trying to break the 
sound barrier, a high pitched whistling noise from his hearing aid 
accompanying his resounding praises.  He held the missal an inch in 
front of his face, clueless as to page number,  finger sliding along 
the inked lines of the text as if he knew exactly what he was reading. 
He had a contented grin on his face when he sat down.  Rocking back & 
forth in the pew, he'd chant, "Very nice, very nice."  

The Sign of Peace was the ultimate low point.  I had watched him wipe 
his nose on his hands & slick back his greasy shoulder length hair 
from the time of his arrival.  Who could pray after he appeared?  He 
stepped out of the pew & went down the aisle, insisting on shaking 
every single hand he could reach & extending the greeting of peace.  
How dare he!  

I couldn't do it.  I could not shake the hand of this grown man with
 the mind of a child. My past trick of pretending to drop something on 
the floor  had worked for a while.   I could bend down & stay hunched 
over, and when he realized that I was not going to stretch out my hand,

Bobby had always moved on.  He never remembered from week to week that 
I wasn't about to do more than grunt a halfhearted "Peace" from where 
I crouched.   He was persistent.  That's for sure!

Today I had a problem:  there was no room for me to squat down to the 
floor.  I couldn't even sit and busy my hands  by rummaging through my 
purse.  My face felt like it was on fire.  Fight or Flight kicked in, 
and I panicked.  What was I going to do?

Agonizing over what I could do to avoid an embarrassing scene, I was 
struck with a paralyzing awareness of my hypocrisy.   My lungs felt as 
if all the air had been sucked out of them.  My heart pumped so hard I 
was sure everyone could hear it.  

What had I done?  The realization of my arrogance  was followed by 
instant shame . The truth was that  I was the disabled one, the one 
who needed God's mercy.  

 "Lord, what am I doing?" I prayed.  I called  myself a Christian, 
but I couldn't shake the hand of this innocent man?  Did the 
commandment "Love your neighbor" only mean to love those who were 
healthy, clean, well dressed, intelligent, and prompt? 

 "Forgive me, please.   What have I done?"  The shameful awareness of 
my mean spiritedness  poured over me.   Immediately I knew I needed a 
divine power to raise up my leaden arm & allow me to grasp the fingers 
of Bobby, genuinely wishing him the peace that I had not allowed myself
to feel.

 Head down, I heard Bobby's lisp before I saw him.   "Peace of Christ 
be with you, "   he called out in his singsong voice.  After what 
seemed like hours,  I  slowly lifted my  tear-stained face and looked 
into his childlike brown eyes.  It was then that I felt an undercurrent
of peace and love pulsate through me.    Hesitatingly, then assuredly, 
I replied, "And also with you."  I took his hand in both of mine & 
started pumping it up & down, oblivious to time & place.  "Yes, Bobby, 
peace be with you, too."

Bobby sits with us now.  He skips up the aisle until he finds me, 
interrupting the congregation with his joyous greeting, stepping over 
laps so he can sit next to me.    I hold the songbook for us and we 
sing, my arm around Bobby-God's messenger who taught me the meaning of 
the words, "Make me a channel of your peace" May I never forget.

Irene Budd
Reeni RN@aol.com


A little bit about Irene:

Irene Budd has been married 31 years to her college sweetheart.  At 
age 40 she returned to school to become a registered nurse, and now 
works the 11p-7a shift on a medical-surgical floor of a small city 


From:	BColon@hodgsonruss.com (Beth Colon)

I ask that you pray for my cousin's 11 year old son, Danny, who is very 
ill and apparently has been for most of his young life. He's not a 
complainer and has dealt with his illness with courage and stamina, 
but he really needs God's help now. He needs his blood pressure to 
come down and his heart to be strong enough to have the surgery he 
needs. Please pray for Danny and his family. I thank you from the 
bottom of my heart.
Beth Colon

From:	laketa@ticon.net (L. Benedict)

 Would appreciate a few extra prayers for Ed from your readers. Ed has 
been in the hospital since last Thur. Unknown infection plus the lung 
cancer. Breathing very hard for him right now. Tonight he is having 
3pts. of blood.
Thank you. 
La Keta Benedict

From:	DHAngelGirl72@aol.com

I went to see my Neurologist yesterday and he thinks that since I was 
getting so much better that I am possibly being over medicated.  That 
explains why I want to sleep all the time.  He told me to reduce one 
of the pills I am taking Xanax 3 times a day and he wants me to cut 
down to 2 a day and after 2 weeks cut down to 1 a day and eventually 
he is going to take me off of them.  He said he wants to see me in 4 
weeks but since I already have an appointment on June 2nd I'll see him 
in 2 weeks.  I am having the worse muscle spasms and I am afraid of 
falling when I transfer from my wheelchair.  Please pray that this 
works and he won't have to put me on steroids.  I'm a little fearful 
because I came a long way last year after being bedridden for 5-6 
months, but I know that God's will, will be done in this matter.  He 
always pulls me out when I am in need and holds my hand.

Grace and Peace,
Deborah L. Hartzell

From:	nannyroney@juno.com (barbara g roney)

My friend has a darling two-year-old daughter, Bailee, who has been in
the hospital for three weeks. The doctors from two hospitals have been
trying desperately to find out what is wrong with this little girl.
Bailee's hand started trembling four to five weeks ago. She has
progressively gotten worse and now her entire body trembles and jerks and
she is unable to walk or crawl without assistance. She has had several
MRI's, a couple of CAT scans, spinal taps, blood tests etc. She has been
checked from top to bottom. Some doctors feel that she has neuroblastoma.
Other doctors think she may have "dancing eyes, dancing feet." One doctor
thinks there is a chance that a new couch which had been sprayed to
protect the fabric may have caused this so a lab is testing the couch.

Please pray for Bailee and for her doctors, that they will be led to the
right diagnosis. 
Thank you. Barb


Thought For The Day:

"People are alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ."

Verse for the Day:

"Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?"
Proverbs 20:6

Kid's Thought for the day:

"If you don't get it say so."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"Babies leak. From both ends."
(Bruce Lansky)

Coach's Thought For The Day

"Football is a game in which there are 22 players on the field desperately in 
need of rest, and 65,000 people in the stands desperately in need of 

Deep Thought For The Day:

"It's always bothered me when people say "It's always in the last 
place you look."  Of course it is.  Why would you keep looking after 
you've found it? Do people do this?  Who and where are they?"

\_\  /    THUNDER27@aol.com   http://members.aol.com/Thunder27/index.html
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
\_\/\ \   Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live for the Son
   \_\/   of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  Galatians 2:20	

Video Imagery (Michael's Video Production Business)

"I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch the video 
we gave them. They loved it, to say the least!  Within thirty 
seconds my mom was crying and my dad did too.  They said it was 
the best Christmas gift we could have given them!!  You did such 
a beautiful job!  They were so suprised and so touched---they 
really, really, really loved it.  Thanks for helping to make it so 
special to us all.  My mom mentioned how the songs were perfect for 
the video too!  Thanks again!"
Kelli  (RKaGe@aol.com)    College Station, TX 

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