A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!
Several years ago, I attended a reunion at Hollygrove, where I worked during my college days. It was a home for orphans and kids who were wards of the court. It was under the auspices of the Los Angeles Orphan’s Home Society. The home, which was a huge building with several cottages was right in the middle of Hollywood. The whole complex was surrounded by trees and bushes, so that you hardly knew you were in Hollywood. This is where, many years before, a child named Marilyn Monroe lived when her family was in turmoil. I know this to be true because I ran across her file one day while at Hollygrove. Her name then was Norma Jean Baker, a very pretty name. I don’t know why she changed it later on, perhaps, and am just guessing, to separate herself from a very troubled childhood,
Walking into the lounge/cafeteria where the reunion was being held, I wondered if I would recognize any of the kids whom I had worked with so long ago. Or would they even know me, for it had been 15 years?
As I looked around the room, which numbered about 50 or so, some faces looked familiar, but I couldn’t recall their names unless I looked at the name tags. Then while moving through the room talking with as many as possible, two young women approached me, one was with her husband and the other with her children. They knew who I was and began to praise the home and all of its staff for what had been done for their husbands who were children at Hollygrove
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. They were especially appreciative of the faith their husbands found at the home.
Hollygrove was not a Christian home; it was secular. However, it just happened to have a staff where most were Christians. And because of this, the hope of Christ was often shared with kids who had lost hope with their families. Bottom line, many, many, many kids at Hollygrove found Christ during their years there.
While talking with these two gals, all of a sudden, a big 6”5” giant of a man grabbed me from behind and raised me up in the air. He was not mad at me, just excited to see me once again. The last time I saw him was when he was eleven years old.
He cried out!
“It’s Brian, Mr. McClain, it’s me.”
“Oh, my heavens”, I said, “Not the little boy in cottage five.”
Then he said something that took me back a little, for I did not always remember every experience I had while working at Hollygrove. Here’s what I remember Brian saying, although I am not sure all of the words and sentences are 100% correct.
“Thanks, Mr. McClain, for writing me that letter after you left the home; what you said really helped, for I had been struggling with God back then, wondering if He loved me. When I got your letter out of the blue, I knew He did.”
As Brian continued and told me about how his life went over the years, I was so proud of him, for he turned out to be a man who loved God, was a good worker, and a great husband and father to his children. For what he missed out on while growing up he made up for by always being there for both his wife and children.
I don’t remember all that I wrote to Brian at the time. It had been a number of years since I saw him. But when Bob, the manager of Hollygrove, called and told me about his struggles, I immediately wrote what I thought might help. Needless to say, God used those words, as He will use your words to help others who are hurting, especially those laced in with the Scriptures.
Finally, never pass on any opportunity to say something helpful to another in need, nor sell short what you say, for God can use any and everything said to make a tremendous difference.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstance. They are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 25:11 & Proverbs 16:24