I have great needs in my life.  I like my job, but it often consumes my time, challenges my self-worth, and causes stress.  My wife is loving and beautiful and my children are wonderful and extraordinary, but at times it gets a little testy around our house.  Yet with all this, the things that really eat at me — the things that cause me to worry — are the mechanical breakdowns of ordinary tools and gadgets we rely on.  Things like cars, snowblowers, siding, refrigerators, washers, and dryers.  When those things break down, they sit for weeks on end because I have neither the ability nor the time to fix them.  As they sit there, a part of my soul mourns, wanting to make them right again, but feeling powerless to do anything about it.

So that’s why I love my father-in-law.  Of all the good people I know, of all the family, church- goers, pastors, elders, friends, and relations in the world, no one has recognized and met my needs like Gus.  When I was newly married, he changed the oil my wife’s car.  Later, he helped us buy a large, new refrigerator to keep my large family well-stocked. Same goes for the new washer and dryer.  Recently, when he heard that my snowblower was out of service, he immediately decided that he would give me his — the nice one with handwarmers.  He has brought home-grown vegetables to our door every summer without fail.  He has cut and quartered hundreds of cedar logs for our fireplace.  He has given us large sums of money twice a year, to use as we needed.

I used to take offense at all these things, because I felt it was meddling.  In my pride, I fretted, thinking, “I can take care of my own family….I don’t need you.”  Now I see it differently.  He sees needs in my life, and he gives of himself to meet those needs.  He gets me.

He doesn’t say much, he’s uncomfortable sharing his feelings, but his love is clearly and wonderfully expressed in his material provisions.  I thank God for Gus.



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