For the last two weeks, we have been travelling – visiting family and friends for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. We spent several days in the Atlanta area with my parents. One Sunday, we visited a local church with them.
The meeting was traditional and typical. There was a choir that sang several songs as well as a soloist. There were two or three congregational hymns / praise songs. And, the interim pastor presented an entertaining sermon. We were glad to be able to be there with my parents.
The people seemed genuinely friendly. Several people introduced themselves and welcomed us. But, one person in particular stood out. His name was Tom. Tom sat in the pew behind us. When he sat down, he introduced himself and welcomed us. During the “fellowship time”, he again spoke to us. Then, at the end of the meeting, he talked to us some more.
I really enjoyed meeting Tom, and I wish that I had had more time to talk to him. Tom is an older gentleman. He moved to that area of Atlanta over 40 years ago with the military, and he retired there. As with other parts of the Atlanta metro area, he has seen tremendous change.
But, Tom seemed to understand the importance of people. Over and over again he talked to us, asking us about ourselves with what seemed to be genuine interest. While others shook our hand and walked on to the next person, Tom remained, and talked, and listened.
I can learn from Tom. I can learn to value people – to listen to people – to care about people. Like I said, I wish I had more time to talk to Tom. But, of course, the meeting had to start, the “fellowship time” had to end, and we all had to leave the building. Perhaps, one day, I’ll have more time to talk to Tom.