Our friend Allan Hill had a birthday last week. He's the youngest 27 year old I know. Allan lives just down the road from the church, and very frequently drops by or calls both there and at the house. There are probably very few people who have lived in Valparaiso very long that have not seen Allan out walking, and a large number of those people also know him personally.
Allan's hard not to know.
He's never really met a stranger, and when he does, he's generally within hailing distance of someone he does know, so he does what comes natural to him. "Do you know David? David is my pastor" is what I have heard on several occasions when I ran into Allan while out in the community.
So today when we were at one of his favorite places, Dollar General, when we picked out a gift for him, Bunny asked the clerk if Allan had one of them already. "No, but he will like that.," she said, so our purchase was made. She knew him that well.
I sit here and wonder sometimes, what if the whole community - not just the church - but everyone, was as open and connecting as Allan? What if we knew each other so well that pretty much anyone among us could tell someone else whether something as silly as a birthday gift would make us smile?
Think about it.
And here is what Allan will be getting.
It plays "On the road again" and sways while its ears flap up and down.
I expect to hear it a lot until Allan runs the batteries down. But it will make him happy, and that will be a gift to all of us as well.