Saturday, November 7, 2015

Little things mean a lot!

The year was 1954…one of the most exciting times in my life.  I had my first legitimate radio job:  weekend disc jockey and announcer for WMUS, in Muskegon! 

In those days, a disc jockey was really a disc jockey.  For the most part, I was spinning 78 RPM records on the two turntables.  And one of those records was a new hit by pop singer Kitty Kallen:  LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT.

The job led to a thrilling and rewarding career in radio broadcasting that spanned nearly 30 years.  In 1983, radio was finished, and a new life selling church organs began.  21 years later, this old man began still a third new career:  showing compassion to prisoners.  It’s important to note here that while jobs changed, the lyrics to the old popular song held true, and perhaps have more meaning now than ever before!

The song lyrics popped into my head this morning as I was reflecting on the number of prisoners who are just begging for Matt and me to get to know them.  The underlying message is simply this:  “Once you get to know me, you’ll find I’m OK…you’ll like me!”

Just this week a prisoner who has been leaning hard on me to write a letter of support to the Parole Board took the next step, and urged me to call his family members to confirm that he’s a nice man and deserving of my support. 

Another inmate dropped a note yesterday asking if I had abandoned him.  He said that everyone else had, but he was clinging to our friendship.  Why wasn’t he hearing from me?

Two days ago an old friend, an elderly black man who has been wrongly convicted, called me on the phone to say that it appears that everyone has forgotten him.  He had the strong backing of an international innocence project, when they suddenly dropped his case.  Then a private US innocence project took him on, and now he hears nothing.  We appear to be among the few who actually believe in him.  He’s heart-broken.

Message after message comes to the HFP office, pleading with us to figuratively hold their hands, give them a kind word, show a hint of friendship.  That brings me back to Kitty Kallen’s popular song of 1954:  LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT.Look at these lyrics:

Give me a hand when I've lost the way
Give me your shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on
Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven't forgot
That always and ever, that now and forever
Little things mean a lot.

I don’t think Jesus meant that all of his followers had to drop everything and go into full-time prison ministry, in his message of Matthew 25.  I think his message was:  LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT!

Matt and I must never forget this.

Neither should you.

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