Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why a Zippo Lighter Made Me Cry

Before I reached the office this morning, I received a phone call that Cary Branscum had already visited my office and was looking for me.  Let me tell you about Cary.

Cary is one of my ministry mentors and heroes.  He is currently serving as The Small Groups and Singles Minister at the Hills Church.  He is a veteran of various ministries and a wealth of wisdom and encouragement for all who are blessed to know him.   Besides being one of the most creative people I have ever worked with, he is also one of the most selfless and loyal workers in the Kingdom (this endorsement covers over 25 years of ministry-Cary is the real deal).  There is much more I could say about Cary. He has been and continues to be someone who goes out of their way to believe in and encourage my life and ministry.  So, at least once a month, I head over to his office, sit down in his "comfy chair"(it really is a marvel of furniture engineering) and spend a few encouraging minutes with the great Cary Branscum.

Back to this morning.

When I arrived at my office, I immediately began walking towards Cary's office to see what he needed.  As I was fast approaching his office, Cary rounded the corner and said, "I know this will sound odd, but I need you to follow me to the Men's Restroom." Odd and AWKWARD for sure! However, since Cary was asking, I agreed to follow him without objection (no, I have never taken candy from a stranger).

As we entered the bathroom, he walked to the sink counter and began opening a Zippo lighter package.  He explained all of the reliable features of the lighter as he demonstrated how to fill the lighter with fluid.  After, with one hand and much swagger, he brought forth a flame from the Zippo and snapped it shut, he handed it to me. I was humbled, stunned, a little speechless, incredibly blessed and teary-eyed.

Why did the gift of a Zippo bring such emotion?

To answer that, let's go back to yesterday (insert your favorite time travel noise).

I was waiting to visit a minister that offices next door to Cary.  As I waited, the "comfy chair" called my name, I plopped down and we started one of our life, ministry and "such" discussions.  During the talk, I noticed that Cary had a Zippo on his desk.  Since he has never been a smoker, I had to ask why he had a lighter. Cary explained how the lighter was something he had carried for a while as a reliable ministry tool (such as when a candle goes out in a wedding) but also had a deeper meaning.  The smell of the Zippo reminded him of people, some long gone, who had made a deep impact on his life.

I agreed.

That statement started another conversation about people, many of them smokers at one time, like my dad, who not only blessed our lives but served our country as well (that is where many of them picked up the smoking habit).  So, for Cary, the smell of a Zippo is a reminder of dependability loyalty, dedication and faithfulness.

Let's go forward to today (insert that favorite time travel noise again).

Cary's gift of a Zippo was not only an incredible act of thoughtfulness, it was a reminder to live a life in which dependable, loyalty, dedication and faithfulness are words spoken of me when my day's are past.   

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