Dear Friend

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This is just a little note to let you know you're often thought of with gratitude. Many are they who will give grand counsel and goodly advice without forsaking the pedestal of self-esteem. But there are so few, like you, who touch the hearts of anybodies and make them somebodies, who say, "I can feel your pain, may I share it?", who knit their lives to others for that brief time when care is needed most, who when his life path crosses another's, says, "let me help you for the span of time we walk together," forgiving and forgetting with a love that surpasses all but the divine.

For your encouragement and fellowship I will always be deeply grateful.

So ends a letter to my Dad from a gentleman many decades ago. The person he describes is the Dad I've known growing up - always fully and completely giving himself to others in their greatest moments of weakness and grief. Why is it that, after living a life like his and now in his greatest time of need, the majority of Christian acquaintances back out of Dad's life in fear, while those who embrace him with love are the exception? And is it any wonder that those of us who know and love Dad experience indignation when Christian leaders of my parents' church justify their own and their members' distance in their greatest time of need and loneliness?