October 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Had a call from Joe Johnson — a brother in need, he said. Said he was a member of the church in Alabama but was on his way to see his sick mother in Louisiana. Said he had a job waiting for him when he got there but he had had car trouble, and was out of gasoline. Said he had been in the hospital himself, and ———...

Whoa! Hold on! Wait up! I broke in. Ive heard that one before. Where are you Harry?

Harry?? This is Joe Johnson, bro. Turner. I wont need very much. Just some gasoline, and some food for my hungry children, and a little money to get me on to Louisiana, and ———

Yeah, Yeah! Well, you come on out to the house Harry, and well see if we can help you; and I hung up.

When I heard a tap at the door I called, come in Har—— and the door opened — and in walked a stranger. Said his name was Joe Johnson.

I called Alabama. Yes, Joe was a member there — fine fellow — heard he was on a trip to see his sick mother — somewhere in Louisiana. Poor fellow had had hard luck lately I just couldnt believe it, so I called Louisiana. The small town Operator told me there was a Johnson listing, but that Mrs. Johnson was in the hospital —— very ill. She understood the son was on his way to see his mother —— said he was going to work for a contractor while there.

So, I felt very ashamed of myself for being such a doubter. After all, there could be a Joe Johnson in need of assistance. Brethren do have sick mothers, and some must operate on such a small margin that a little bad luck could produce want. And Joe did seem so ashamed to have to ask for my help. Even his explanation for going from Alabama to Louisiana via Texas made some sense. And he promised to pay me back as soon as he got to his work. Of course I told him I wouldnt think of taking the money.

Why must we always think the worst of people? Love thinketh no evil — believeth all things. Why cant we learn to trust our fellow-man? Must we be so affected by the hardness and materialism about us that we become calloused to a genuine cry for help?

I was reaching for my wallet when Vivian awoke me, calling breakfast.