In Africa the sunrays burn really hot on your skin. Even though I have fairly dark complexion, I often wear a hat to protect my skin. I've worn several kinds of hats: a camo boonie hat, a tan Foreign Legion hat complete with ear and neck flaps, a cap, etc. But it wasn't until I saw a Spanish tour guide in Entebbe that I finally knew what kind of hat I really wanted. He was wearing an Australian outback hat like this one.
Driving through Oklahoma in December, we stopped at a Cherokee craft shop where I found a Minnetonka fold-up leather hat. The price was decent, and because I wanted one so bad I convinced myself that the size XL would fit (I guess I expected my head to grow at some point). I went ahead and got the XL, but my head never got bigger. I hate it when that happens. A few weeks later, I sent the hat back to the factory and asked for an exchange.
Meanwhile, a friend from our Tallahassee church fellowship group had acquired a couple of these fold-up leather hats. He kept a size M to wear himself and another M for his wife. A third, size L, he didn't have a need for, so he went to the Post Office to send it back. Waiting in line at the Post Office, our friend suddenly got a gut feeling that he should hang on to the hat. He knew that because so many people compliment him on his hat, there would be a good chance he could give this one away as a gift.
At our meeting last week, I complimented this friend on his hat (we hadn't seen him in over two years). I told him I had gotten one like it but that it was too big. He asked what kind it was. I said "Minnetonka". He took his hat off and showed me that his was that brand. He asked what size I wear. I said "large". Too bad, because he had a size M just like the one I had got (with a mesh top). I turned to say something to another friend, when the friend with the hat just kind of disappeared. Minutes later he reappeared and gently pushed a box into my hands. I looked at it, then up at him in surprise. "What's this?", I asked. "Open it", he said. When I opened it, out came a lovely, new Australian Outback leather fold-up hat, size L. "It's yours", he said.
What's the big deal with this hat story? Well, it's in moments like that when one feels the little delights of being part of the loving family of God. Thanks, Mark!