Wednesday, October 3, 2012
What I Learned From Fred
Fred was this short old guy from our church. I would greet him "good morning" on Sundays and he replied "wats gudah bow eet". He had an accent. I could easily tell he wasn't born or raised in America. Later I understood, he meant to say "What's good about it?" or what's good about the morning. I knew he was teasing. He would also greet me on Sundays and told me I should say back "what's good about it?".
Fred was a very sweet guy. He always teased me about my boots, wearing them in the wrong season. "There's no snow!" he would say. He also always asked me "You so short, why marry a very tall man?" as if it was a big mistake. I never actually figured the answer.
Until one Sunday, he stopped coming to church. I usually intend to ask someone about it but I never did. I was consumed with my own life's worries and busy-ness that I forgot that I wanted to know him more. I know he had a lot of awesome stories to share. Stories of his experiences in Yugoslavia until he fled to America during world war two where he and his wife met again and toiled for that American dream. I let days, weeks, months passed until I heard that Fred just passed away. I was sad. I never had a chance to answer his question. I never even knew his real name. I just refer to him as "That Yugoslavian". I hate the fact I didn't even had him over for dinner and hear stories of how the Lord worked in his life when they fled from the harsh life of his country. It was only until I read in his funeral, his real name was Ferdinand Decker.
I went to his funeral yesterday. I saw him in that coffin lifeless. That was the only time I saw him he did not ask me questions. That would be weird if he did though.
Church is not just a once a week meeting place for people who share the same beliefs. Church is a place to gain wisdom from the elders, share those lessons with my peers and able to teach those experiences to the young children and young believers.