I wish you had known Charles. Charles was an English gentleman who owned a private car service. He worked out of his home and built a small but steady business based on regular clients. His smile, gentle spirit, and punctuality were consistent and easily and freely given to all. But to me that is not what made Charles really special.
Twenty years ago, Charles worked in a diesel engine manufacturing plant. He had a good job, steady and reasonably well paying. He was married to a wonderful woman and involved in raising his three sons. Then factory efficiencies hit. Two plants combined and most of the workers lost their jobs. Charles was a lucky one. He was offered a job in the new plant, but it meant that he and the family would have to move. He weighed the option and decided to take a package and leave. The disruption to the family was too great a sacrifice to make.
It is hard to fully appreciate what followed. Charles looked for work and took part-time jobs to tide things over. His wife Pat went to work to help out, and the family stayed together. After a few years, he stumbled on driving a car and eventually came to own his own service. Charles, an ordinary man doing a regular job making a living to support his family.
His work and life spoke volumes of his values and priorities.
He always spoke with pride of the transition period for Pat who he loved and sons that he adored. I never found a trace of regret in his voice. He understood the values and priorities in the path he was on and lived them out with grace and gentleness. He always came on time, never broke a speed limit, and somehow, almost magically, delivered you to your destination relaxed, refreshed, and on time.
I always wondered what God’s sons looked like, now I have known one of the models.
“Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.” (Proverbs 12.9)