Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: November 2015


On Sundays Ron was usually at the church door, waiting to welcome people with a firm handshake and shy smile. He worked wonders with the old boiler, knowing just how to coax heat from it, so that we could enjoy warm radiators during the sermon in winter. No one else was ever quite able to manage it. When he was away for a six-week-world-holiday-of-a-lifetime,  we shivered our way through meetings huddled in coats and scarves. Oh the relief when Ron The Master Boiler returned and we had a warm building once more.

Ron arrived early on Sunday mornings to turn on the electric heaters in the cold, damp rooms we used for Sunday School so that when the teachers and children turned up, the rooms were toasty and welcoming. Before leaving, he made sure the timers were set on those self-same heaters to ensure they came on in good time for the pre-meeting prayer time in the evening.

When my keys refused to work in stiff locks, Ron was my go-to guy. Even in the pouring rain, he gave every appearance of being happy to help.

He took charge of filling the baptistery with a hose pipe whenever it was needed (doing his utmost to ensure the water was warm), made tea and squash for holiday Bible clubs and Bible exhibitions, and collected up hymn books and newssheets at the end of the service.

Dependable and stolid, faithfully getting on with the next thing, contentedly chewing his mints, an amused chuckle, twinkling eyes, a well-worn Bible: these are my memories of a special man.

Not An Orphan

I love watching gymnastics. Last weekend were the finals of the world gymnastics championships in Glasgow. Danell Leyva, representing the USA, stepped up to the high bar. His coach who is also his dad lifted him up and made sure he was secure before retreating a little way to watch the routine.

The dad’s eyes never left his son for a second. He lived every handstand, every catch and release, every single movement with his son. And when Danell finished the routine, the cameras panned to his dad and coach racing up and down, jumping and punching the air in sheer exuberant pride in his son.

Immediately the Father whispered to me: ‘That’s how I feel about you.’

Blogging over at More Than Writers today.

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