Out of emotion, passion and inspiration I wrote a blog post (October 4, 2013) about the death of our little four-legged family member, Lexie. She was a little black rescue dog and an absolute delight to our whole family. I wrote about the details of losing her, the family rallying and gathering to comfort each other in our grief. It was really tough, emotionally. Acknowledging that fact, our daughters Grace and Mary and I decided it would help bring healing if we would immediately adopt another rescue dog. We did, and her name is Fendi. She is a joy and a delight. We are diligent to train her and help her rein in her bouncy behavior. (Hmmm, maybe we should have named her Tigger! Nah!) She was full of street smarts, not relational skills! We're still working with her.
Mary Balint holding our new rescue, Fendi
But during those weeks in early October when we were still missing Lexie so much, I was having a hard time talking to people without being emotional. We kind of huddled together as a family. Well, I huddled and sort of hid. Emotional type. Yep.
And then along came Chuck. God sent him to us during our deepest time of grief. Chuck didn't have any idea what we were experiencing. All he knew was that he was subcontracted by our deck builder, to come to our home and finish the last phase our new deck expansion - to stain it. And since our deck is spacious and two-stories high, it took Chuck several days to complete the job. Our deck contractor introduced Chuck to us --before Chuck came to work -- as "his best friend for 40 years and a faithful brother in the Lord."
Chuck is about 6'3", has wirey white hair and white beard. At first I thought, why is a workman coming to our home now? This timing is terrible. I don't want to talk to anyone and here he is working alongside the windows of our kitchen and family room! Well, of course he was! That's where our deck is!
The first time Chuck came to work he showed up at the front door to greet us and then he walked around to the back of the house with all of his tools and equipment. After the first day, he never came to the front door, he just showed up in the back yard and started working. We would open the french door from the kitchen and acknowledge that he was there. He was very friendly from the start. Don would briefly visit with him and told him about our loss of Lexie and the new energetic rescue dog, Fendi. Fendi came out to the deck and barked and barked loudly at Chuck. Chuck didn't flinch and in a very short time he and Fendi became fast friends. He even called her "Fendi Lou" and he was so encouraging to us as he'd say he knew she would calm down and be a great dog for us. I was drawn to his peace. He clearly knew Jesus as his LORD and the light of Christ was obvious.
Several times a day, in training Fendi, I took her out in the back yard to do her business in the yard instead of inside our house! So everytime I went out in the yard, I would say something to Chuck while he was kneeling on the deck or balancing on a ladder, as he stained the deck. I could see he was so respectful and tended to his own business -- so I guess that's why I eventually relaxed in my grief and enjoyed talking to him about the Lord and life and training a new dog. He shared how he and his wife had two dogs and they had to be put down. He said he knew how hard it was for us to lose Lexie. He talked about prayer and the spiritual climate of our country.
Chuck drove a dark blue pickup truck and the truck bed had a hatched cover. Chuck was a seasoned construction worker; a professional who worked quietly and diligently. He didn't need a drink of water or a snack -- I asked him -- he said he had everything in his truck. His manners were impeccable. When Chuck parked on the street I asked him if he could park on one side of our driveway instead of the street. He'd say, "Yes, ma'm, I'll do whatever you need. You just tell me." And he was like that the whole time he was at our home! And when I was outside he'd say, "If when you come outside again with Fendi and it looks like I've just disappeared, I'll be right back. I'm just going to be gone for about 30 minutes and I'm going to get myself a hamburger. I'll be right back and get back to work! Don't you worry." Peaceful. Calm. Humble. Steady. Hard worker. No complaints about the heat or the long hours he was working. Hmmm.
I noticed that Chuck had a bright red folding chair that he set up under the tree at the bottom of the deck stairs. The weather was really hot. I noticed he'd stop work and sit in his chair and sip tea. He just calmly sat there. He worked long hours at our home. When I saw that he was taking time to stop and rest, it made me think of how most of us are: we just keep going until we drop. Chuck was so easy going and kind and he knew it was wise to take a break and regain some energy and strength. I mentioned it to him and he said he's had very serious back injuries and back surgeries. He said he knew that to keep going he had to stop for a few minutes when the pain got too great.
I told Chuck that I liked to write and I seem to get inspiration to write about people, life and God and that I wanted to include him in my next devotional book. I told him I wanted to write about him and his gentle, refreshing spirit that was from God. I believed God sent him to us when we needed his encouragement, joy and peace. I even asked if I could take his picture. I think he was very surprised maybe even stunned at my words, but obviously you can see he was willing.
Chuck was on a mission and it was obvious. I thought he was only working in our back yard to cover the deck with a few coats of stain. Nope. As days progressed, I realized God sent Chuck to us to bring peace to our hurting household. Heaven sent. Like an angel. I'm sure of it. Jesus sent him to us in our storm and He used Chuck to say to us, "Peace! Be still!" It worked. Oh, the love Christ has for His children! Wow. Yes, I'm paying attention...and He is with us.
And the finished deck? It's just another blessing! Just icing on the cake, Baby.
Fendi, chillin' on the new deck.
And there she is again, wondering why I keep taking her picture!
All Glory to HIM!