Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mr. Carlson

by the grace of God, i grew up in a home in orange, CA...
across the street from a man named Mr. Carlson.

this evening i returned home from a memorial service for a man whom i respected deeply and loved very much.  a man who poured so much into me that my life is forever changed by the love he showed and shared with me.  i don't believe that i can find words that would describe who Mr. Carlson was, but as my husband was driving our family home i was looking through my Bible seeing scriptures that stuck out that reminded me of him.

romans 12:9 "Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spriritual fevor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."

1 corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no records of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices int he truth.  It always protects, all trusts, always hopes, always preservers."

titus 1:8-9 "Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

hebrews 13:16 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

Mr Carlson loved the unlovable.  And i know because that was me.

i lived across the street and i was at the Carlson house a lot.  not just a little.  but really a lot.

Mr. Carlson never turned me away.  he never didn’t have time for me. 

Mr. Carlson helped me with my math.  He warned me about boys.  He told me every blond joke that he knew.  our family shared a horse for awhile.  he taught me how to whistle a whistle that could bring in every neighborhood kid with in a mile.  i call my kids to me with this same whistle.

 i was playing charades with his daughter - my friend, trisha in the front room one day, eating a peppermint candy, i inhaled and choked.  (right before that we had been laughing hysterically) she took my hand and walked me back to her dad.  he did the abdominal thrust on me and saved my life.

about a month ago i was sharing my testimony with a group of women. after hearing about different things i had gone through one of the ladies asked – “how did you know Jesus' love?”  i responded “Mr. Carlson.”

as i sat at his service with another 800 plus people i bawled...  i was overwhelmed with the love that i felt from him as i grew up.  isn't that how it should be?  that young ones feel so loved and special by the adults in their lives?   amazing that the Lord can and will fill this need when someone needs that.  story after story was about how he showed Christs endless love for others.  i am so grateful to have seen this and have it modeled to me.  even though i really hadn't seen him super regularly in this last 20 years i had my first 20 years pretty continual with him.

Father God - thank you Jesus for your mercy.  for planting each one of us right where we are to be.  Lord, as Mr. Carlson learned to follow you and to be used by you for your glory, please do this in me, in my children, and in the children that spend hours at our home...

i have endless stories of him.  i am so grateful for the saving grace of Jesus and the hope that we have in Him. i know that Mr. C is in heaven worshiping our King. when i get there i am grateful that i will be able to walk across the street of gold and get another hug from Mr. Carlson.

(left to right) Bob Carlson, Trisha Carlson, Michael Carlson, Joanna (Arneson) Caldwell, Gail Arneson, Mary Carlson, Jenna (Arneson) Smyth, David Arneson

no doubt this is one of Mr. C's jokes he's explaining as he is chopping my hand?

"Tiata" and Mr. C.  Notice he is barefoot...he usually was.

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