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A Little Gift of Joy

I was sitting in my office at GHBC, having just finished writing down some thoughts about a really hard experience I had earlier on the Memory Ward.  As I finally slowed my breathing to let the tension in my body slip away, I faintly heard the opening chords of The James Gang's "Funk 49" (my cell phone ring-tone).  As I opened the phone to check the number, a smile came to my face as I answered the call, "Hey B!"  One of my Visa buddies had called.  B and I had met at GMU back in 1977.  He pitched on the baseball team; his battery mate (catcher) was the timekeeper for our GMU Patriot soccer matches.  We didn't know one another well, but later in life, we connected again at Visa.  It was there that we became good friends.  As I remember it now, I had plenty of pastoral visits with him as he grappled with his children growing up, the failure of his first marriage, and trying to cope with a corporate culture that constantly changed around us.  We worked together and played softball at Visa, and he is one of my really good buddies who still works there.   

B called because his daughter, the youngest of his two children, is getting married this Saturday.  One of the surprises B has planned for her (during the rehearsal dinner, or maybe even at the wedding reception) is to play a recording he made when I called his children as Santa Claus 15 years ago!  A, his daughter was 7 years old at the time; her older brother S was 9.  As we talked, I could almost remember the call like it was yesterday.  B was in my office when I called, having asked me if I would be Santa to his kids.  We nearly fell all over ourselves trying to not laugh during this special conference call.  I recall that A sounded completely captivated during the call while her brother S seemed more than a bit skeptical.  When Dad started slipping me notes with tidbits of information (things they'd done, gifts they hoped for, etc.), the "magic of Santa" happened.  I was touched to be asked to play such an important role for these kids.  Later on, as I watched them grow up, both B and I kept this secret to ourselves, even as the kids peppered us with questions.  

It was a sweet memory to recall, a lovely reason for him to call, and a really nice time for us to catch up on one another.  For me, it was a little gift of Joy that I really needed just when it came to me.  I wish I could be at Ft. Belvoir this weekend to see A's reaction when she hears the recording.  It just affords me a good reason to call proud Papa back to hear all about it, and this special day in their lives.  Little Gifts of Joy.  Thank you, Lord.