Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again. The wind blows wherever it wishes; you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

John 3:7-8


Last week, I told you about Mr. Pyatt. He lived down the street from where I grew up and he was the meanest man who ever walked the face of the earth. I knew that he was mean. My friends knew that he was mean. My Mom knew that he was mean. Even my Dad knew that he was mean.

My whole childhood was spent with the knowledge that Mr. Pyatt did not have red blood coursing through his veins. We were convinced that his body was fueled by sour pickle juice. But one day, something happened that gave me a slightly different impression of Mr. Pyatt. Maybe he wasn't completely rotten after all. It happened like this ...

It was Father's Day and I was about 9 years old. My buddy Gussy and I were on our way home from Sunday School. We were both beaming because, at Sunday School, we had made our Dads Fathers' Day cards out of construction paper, glue and magic marker. We were so proud of them - the kind of proud that you get when you make something very special for someone very special - the kind of proud you get when you make it all by yourself and you know that the special someone is just going to love it. You just can't wait to hear what they have to say, "Oo! Ah! Oo! Ah!"

Gussy and I both knew that our Dads were going to love their Fathers' Day cards. Mine was made of blue construction paper. I had cut out an airplane in yellow paper and placed it on the front above the words, "To the Nicest Man in the Whole World".

When it was opened up, there was a cut out of an red bird flying under white fluffy clouds. I had added the words, "You make me want to fly. Happy Fathers' Day". I thought that it was kind of catchy.

Gussy's card was something like mine. It was also blue - all of the Fathers' Day cards were blue just like all of the Mothers' Day cards were pink. It went with the times.

Gussy's card had a picture of a German Shepherd on the front that he had cut out of a magazine. He wanted a picture of a big dog because the only dog they had at home was a poodle that was always clipped in such a way that it sort of looked like a garden shrub. Gussy thought that was embarrassing. We guessed his Dad thought so too so the German Shepherd was a nice touch.

On the front, Gussy had written, "To the Nicest Man in the Whole World" and on the inside it said, "Happy Father's Day," beside a cut out of a great big red heart.

We had no doubt that these were the best cards that had been made in our Sunday School class. We seriously considered that they might be the best cards that had ever been made anywhere by anyone.

Walking along the road, we came to my house. We were giggling as we opened the back door, anxious to see my Dad's reaction. We went up the few stairs and through the kitchen door. There was Dad sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. He had walked home from Church with my Mom because we were a little late getting out of Sunday School on account of letting the glue dry on the construction paper.

I walked over to him and held out his Fathers' Day card. I imagine that I was bursting the way that children do when they know they have done something wonderful.

"What have we here?" Dad said as he reached out and took the card from my hand. He read the front. Then he opened it up and smiled. It was the kind of smile that said, "I'm proud of you, Son." Then he said out loud, "This is the finest card I have ever received."

I could see that he was getting watery in his eyes. He looked away and reached into his pocket. Out came two quarters. "Here," he said, "why don't you and Gussy go to the store and buy some jaw breakers." Back then, 50 cents worth of jaw breakers was good for a whole week even if you did have to share them.

A minute late, Gussy and I were out the door and heading for his house. We were laughing and giggling the way boys sometimes do. What we didn't notice, however, was how the wind had come up. I guess Gussy wasn't holding his Dad's card very tightly because a gust of wind blew up behind us that snatched the card right out of his hand and hoisted it up into the air. We tried to catch it but the wind blew it away. We ran after it but everytime we thought we just about had it, it blew in another direction and we missed it.

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