Last night I found out that someone who made a real impact on my life had passed. I had met this man in 1961 when I was 10 years old. He was going door to door in our community letting people know that he was new in town. He was a pastor and wanted to start a church in our neighborhood. He didn’t yet have a building but invited us to attend services in his garage around the corner.
My brother was outside that day playing basketball on the driveway. As this nice man was heading to the house next door, he shot a couple of hoops himself and left with a great big grin and a giant wave. He had rather sizeable hands and a very warm smile.
Our family decided to try this new “church” around the corner, in his garage. We sat on folding chairs. There were not a lot of people those first few Sundays, but as time passed, our little congregation grew and spilled out onto his driveway. There was something about this man… he just made you feel good!
Eventually we got a building, a church name and had a full congregation every week. There was Sunday school, a youth group, and adult and children’s choirs.
Years later, I went away to college and left my home town. My parents still attended this church and kept in touch with this wonderful man long after he had retired. He had become more than a pastor, he was a true and loving friend.
There would be many pastors that followed but no one could ever replace him. There was just something about this man with the big hands and the warm smile. He made everyone feel good.
As my parents aged, I moved back to the area to care for them and started going to church again where my former pastor still attended. Mom was too ill to go anymore but Dad and I went every Sunday. Mom had asked him several years before that she wanted him and only him to conduct her memorial service when the time came. Well, the time came and he did and I wouldnt have wanted it any other way. As Dad became less and less mobile, he came to our home, prayed with us and helped my dad prepare for his own journey to his eternal home. And of course, he would be there to conduct Dad’s service too.
Today I have been tearful and sad. A man I had met on my driveway, going door to door, waving and smiling and shooting hoops, is gone. The man with the big hands, the warm smile and the most loving heart. I will never forget you Reverend Evers… you will always be the man who made everyone feel good.