When we got home from work tonight there was a pretty cool letter in the mail addressed to Dominic. It took us a while to place the name and we kept scratching our heads trying to figure out who Bill Leonard is. We weren’t sure at first if it was a teacher or someone from Scouts. After a while Becky stopped and said, “isn’t that ‘the guy’ from church?” If you remember way back to Day 329 from last year you might be thinking of “that guy” that reminds me of my dad, but it’s not him (that’s Dennis). Bill is the other “that guy” from our church, the guy who, coincidentally, almost was the topic of my post on Sunday. The only thing that got in the way of that post was this really awesome newspaper clipping about Dominic being Student of the Month… Which, oddly enough, ends up front and center again today!
Bill is quite the guy, one of those individuals you can just tell right off the bat is a great man. I still remember hearing him do a reading in church for the first time and wishing he did it every single week. His voice is tailor made for reading from the bible, it has a raw power that commands attention while at the same time having a calm and soothing undertone that helps you hear the care in his words. Over the past few years we keep bumping into him and we’ve started sitting pretty close each week depending on what time we get there. He and his wife are always at the 9am on Sunday in the second section in on stage left, about 5 rows back, and we’re somewhere nearby.
Every single Sunday there’s at the very least a nod and a big smile, but most of the time he goes out of his way to shake hands and talk with us a little bit. Now all of that in of itself is great, but the thing that really makes me appreciate Bill is how genuine he is. I don’t know how to describe it, but you can tell he is exactly who he says, and he’s as great of a guy as he seems. This past Sunday as he was walking by at one point he placed his hand on the back of my neck and gave me a good squeeze. As I type it I know it might sound kind of weird, but there was something that was just so loving about that squeeze, a personal connection, something that either of my grandpas, my uncles, or my dad would do. It was a personal connection of approval, of caring, and it brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. That’s what I almost typed about on Sunday, this simple gesture of love that was out of the blue and very much appreciated.
Now fast forward back to today… “Isn’t that ‘the guy’ from church?” Yes, it had to be. While we didn’t have any proof, we both just knew. It was totally something that he would do. So as Becky drove to yoga I pulled up a Google search of his name and saw this face smiling back at me from my iPhone screen…
While today I am thankful for Bill and how he not only took the time to recognize the photo, but then sent a handwritten note, I’m also thankful for all of the happiness he’s brought me each week over the past several years. He has no idea, but there have been many smiles created by him and many mentions of “I really need to take that guy out to coffee and get to know him better” after church. Bill, thank you for all of the happiness you’ve brought into my life and the life of my family. Each of those smiles bring me joy and remind me of how important it is to really connect with our church family. They also remind me of how important it is to smile at others, you just never know when it might warm hearts that need it.