“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)
Youngest son’s girlfriend, M.’s dad is very sick. He went to the hospital ER with a migraine that would not respond to normal medications and was diagnosed with brain tumors. The hospital reports this week were not good. First mini strokes and brain bleeding, then, seizures, blindness caused by pressure on his optic nerve and finally, brain surgery tomorrow. While we don’t know M’s dad well, we love his daughter very much and it makes me sad for her to be going through this with him. You see, her dad is really her stepdad, but he is the only dad she has ever really known. This potential loss is heartbreaking. While we cannot do anything for him, we decided to do something for her. M. will have a birthday while we are on vacation next week, so today was all about M. She has always wanted to go to the Florida Aquarium so we skipped church and surprised her with a trip to Tampa and the aquarium. She chattered away as we drove up there about how cool it would be to see the penguins. Wouldn’t it be neat if she could touch one? I scoured my mind for any references to penguins on the aquariums website, but couldn’t remember any. After all, this is the Florida Aquarium and features native animals. When we arrived, a tiny sign at the ticket booth caught my eye. An ad for a “behind the scenes penguin encounter!” It didn’t matter what the cost, M. was going to see her penguins. It was quite pricey, so I only got two tickets, one for youngest son and one for M. When she found out, I thought she was going to faint she was so excited. When the time came, there were only four in their group, and they did go to an area where aquarium visitors normally don’t go. The aquarium keeps about a half dozen penguins that are used in two “animal encounters” each day called Penguin Promenade. Then, you cannot touch or go near the penguins. However because of their special ticket, youngest son and M. went into the penguin habitat and got to touch and be up close and personal with the penguins. M. was just glowing when the tour ended. She could not stop talking about how cute they were. I was so glad we had made the investment in the special ticket. We finished our tour of the aquarium and came home to one of her favorite meals with strawberry birthday cake to top off the day. Least you think how nice it was of us to do this, don’t! I am just someone grateful for all God has given me and happy to give some of it back. Besides, I got to see the aquarium and eat cake, too. Instead of praising me, think of someone around you who is hurting, lonely, anxious, afraid, or needing a friend. Then, do something special for them. You’ll be glad you did.
PS. M.’s dad’s surgery is at 7:30 AM tomorrow (Monday, September 14). If you are so inclined, we would appreciate your prayers. Thanks.