Happy Birthday Andy!
If you asked ANYONE who
lived in my town (past or present) or ANYONE who had ever visited my church, to
use one word to describe/explain/get to the heart of it, that word would be simply: Andy. No question in my mind that Andy would be the first (and possibly
only) thing that would come to people's minds when they think of the First
Why would they think of
Andy? Well, he has been working at the church for 60 years. (No,
that's not a typo.) He is a wealth of information; he knows EVERYTHING.
And to me (and I'm sure hundreds, if not more) is the heart and soul of the
church. No, let me change that he IS the church. He is the essence of (true) Christianity.
If you don't know Andy, you
might think that he is the church minister. You would be wrong. Maybe he is the director of
music or the head of Christian Education? No. He is the church
sexton. (Google it if you don't know.) He is a humble servant. (Now who else
could that refer to? Who taught and preached that lesson?) He is kind, compassionate, funny, dedicated,
warm...I could go on and on and on with the descriptions.
When I say that Andy is the
heart and soul of the church, I mean it. Even when the furnace is out
(and that happens A LOT!), Andy can warm the room just by being there.
His personality beams through and even the darkest days are made lighter by
He has worked with countless
people, many of whom I am sure have been difficult. Yet Andy
perseveres. He deals (and has dealt) with the mundane and messy (you
don't want to even know how messy), but I have never heard him complain.
(He must have at some point, right?) He handles tasks that most would balk
at and does so with grace. Grace that has carried him through 60
years! 60 years!
Like most of us, Andy has had
moments of joy and sorrow. I have tried to be a good friend and support him during times of
sadness. I know during those times he was surrounded by love. He has been a comfort to me during my own sorrow. Even though the days
were hot when my parents were buried, Andy was there. His presence
lifting me up like a cool breeze.
Andy is like no other person I
have met. He is loved by young and old. He was there the day I was baptized. He was the first person my
son "met" when I brought him to church as a baby. Having Andy
guide me with a newborn, I knew that all was going to be all right.
Andy is not a god; he is not
perfect, but he has a way of showing the perfect joy of the world. This
world is a better place because of him. And I am not the only one who
will attest to that. He has touched so many; enriched so many. How
has he done this? By just being himself.
On this day, we celebrate
Andy's 90th journey around the sun. Yes, Andy is 90 years old and he
STILL works at the church where he began his career 60 years ago.
Officially he doesn't work there full time, but the church is full of his
time. The building actually feels "different" (better) when he
is there. Everything feels better when Andy is there.
Happy birthday Andy!
Thank you for blessing my family and myself with the gift that is you.
I've said it again and again, but you are a blessing to us all. You are a
gift that I will always be grateful for.