To everything there is a season…
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Ralph Evans was a new breed of pastor. He didn’t stand on ceremony and he was committed to reaching out to youth. The church’s previous rector was old school, preferring that congregants address him as ‘Father.’ It was a new season for our church, evidenced by the pastor’s request that people call him ‘Ralph.’

A teenager at the time, I was too shy to comply; he was always ‘Mr. Evans’ to me.

A father figure to neighborhood kids whose own fathers were busy, he listened to our concerns and encouraged our dreams. He tried to broaden our horizons.

Sometimes he’d bring graduate students from the local university to our youth group meetings. We’d discuss the serious issues facing the country. In a season of unrest, Mr. Evans wanted us to understand that many people had lives very different from our own.

He wasn’t only concerned with social issues. The human heart was equally important.

In an old movie, a dying heroine states, “Loves means never having to say you’re sorry.”

He didn’t share that sentiment. Believing our humanity based in the ability to feel remorse for wrongdoing, he encouraged us to say ‘I’m sorry.’ He also encouraged us to forgive others.

Times with Mr. Evans weren’t always so earnest. After Sunday services, he’d round us up and take us to the movies or to the park. At least twice, he took a group of us to the ocean for a weekend.

His house was a busy place, filled with neighborhood teenagers who’d pop in for a visit. His wife was a saint to put up with us.

Mr. Evans was the first person I trusted with my ambition to be a writer. With the bravado of youth, I told him I’d dedicate my first novel to him. He looked at me seriously and said, “If you want it, you can do it.” When I decided to learn to play the guitar, he spent an afternoon taking me to music shops, helping me find the right instrument. He didn’t grimace when I played the thing off-key or out of rhythm. “You’ll get it right next time.”

* * * * *

Life moved on. I graduated from school and put aside dreams of writing. I married and moved out of state. Life was busy and I stopped attending church.

I also lost track of Mr. Evans.

Twelve years ago, for no apparent reason, I started thinking about him again. I wondered what had become of him. The old church had long since closed its doors.

I thought of him so frequently that I finally contacted the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. They told me he’d retired from pastoring a country church. I decided to write him a letter, sharing the reasons he’d been an important part of my life. I sent the letter to the church, hoping they’d forward it.

A month went by; I heard nothing.

The second month, two letters arrived: one from his wife and another from one of his close friends. They wrote that Mr. Evans had battled a terminal illness, and that he’d received my letter on a challenging day.

His wife wrote that the letter had made a difficult day bearable, and he’d beamed after he read it. He asked her repeatedly to read it to the visitors who came to sit with him that day.

* * * * *

I sometimes wonder why I felt driven to seek out Mr. Evans after so many years had passed. Perhaps it is true that there’s a season for everything. That was my season to say thank you; it was his to receive it.

My letter arrived just when needed. Coincidence? The prompting of the Holy Spirit?

The story has a mystifying coda.

The day my letter arrived, Mr. Evans received a second letter from another person from his past.

Decades after knowing this good man, two people reached out on the same day to say thank you to someone who’d made a difference.

I believe in seasons.

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
This entry was posted in My Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to SEASONS

  1. Leanne says:

    Hi Kate,

    I don’t know if this is related or not. I’m trying to do some research on my deceased step father , also named Alan Ralph Evans, who was an Episcopal minister with the Diocese of Washintgon, who also passed away mamy years ago. Would you be willing to email me to see if this is my Step Father you speak of?

  2. Stories like this give me the shivers, the good kind. Some people say there are no coincidences in life. Your story suggests that statement really is true.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I really believe in listening to that small, still voice within that often urges us to do certain things – I certainly believed it even more fully after that experience. I’m glad the story connected with you! 🙂

  3. Equipping The Saints says:

    I believe in seasons, too. Thank you. You might like my post on “Christmas In The 50s.”

  4. gpeynon says:

    Ah, what an uplifting story. Thank you.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hey! How are you? How’s that novel coming along? As for ‘Seasons,’ I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      • gpeynon says:

        I’m good thanks, but very busy in this festive season (you summed things up nicely regarding that in your recent Wednesday Whine post).

        Novel’s currently in the rejection stage… erm, I mean the querying stage. Will try this avenue first, then turn to self-pub. How’s your novel? Bidding war developed yet?

  5. Beautiful Kate, just beautiful.

    I love the piece you’ve used at the top of your post. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is tattooed on my right wrist and reminds me that there is indeed a season for all things, both good and bad, happy and sad, light and dark.

    Such a wonderful tribute to a man who touched your young life more than he may have realised at the time.

    Wonderful ❤

  6. Woo hoo~!! Such a beautiful tribute. We get the kind of man he was in the details you give and it is so wonderful seeing the impace yOu made on him, esp in his time of need. Amazing, how things circle. How love does.


  7. All the best of the season’s memories come to mind, Kate. Thank you… I enjoy your writing and it is a lovely escape many nights. Hugs!

  8. Lucy says:

    Good one Kate. Lucy

  9. Zambian Lady says:

    That was very nice of you to remember to thank Mr Evans after so many years and unknowingly brightened a rough day. I think showing gratitude is one of those things that has no ‘statute of limitations.’ I have been meaning to call my father’s godmother who took my siblings and I in when my parents were in hospital for several months after an accident. Thanks for your unintended prod for me to call.

  10. I loved this, Kate. Letter writing and taking the time to send thank you’s even years after have magic (Holy Spirit). That prompting is so exciting to me. I’m glad you shared it with us.

  11. Glynis Jolly says:

    Coincidence? Nay, I doubt it seriously. I believe that we connect with others no matter the distance when it’s about matters of the heart. The experience made your life better too, you know. ❤

  12. This is a wonderful story, Kate. I suppose the heart knows what the heart knows. That everything happens for a reason, whether we’re aware of it or not, is not hard to accept. Out of the blue, Mr. Evans needed rejuvenation of his spirit and you gave him that. Strange, yet comforting, when you think about the timing. I would have been thunderstruck. ❤ ❤

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Tess, I was thunderstruck – especially when his wife remarked on the other person who wrote Mr. Evans that same day, and after so many years.

      There’s a line from an old Rolling Stones song: You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. I think Mr. Evans got what he needed that day. ❤

  13. willow1945 says:

    I love this, Kate. How wonderful that you were moved to thank him just at the exact right time for him, just when he needed a lift, a reminder of how much he’d given to others. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      You’re welcome. It’s a good reminder that sometimes it’s good to listen to the inner voice that says we should do something for someone, or say something kind, or just reach out. You never know if your action might be just what someone needs at any given moment. 🙂

  14. noelleg44 says:

    This is a wonderful and touching story,Kate, and serves as a reminder to us all to thank the people who have had a positive influence in our lives. What a special coincidence.

  15. Deb says:

    When God lays something or someone on your heart, there is a reason we should act accordingly. Usually when someone is on my mind a lot, when I contact them I find they needed my contact, a hug or a prayer! This is so touching.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      You know, Deb, so many people have said that when someone is on their mind a lot – and they contact them – they find that the person really needed a lift. Isn’t that funny (as in strange)? 🙂

  16. Kate,
    this is both strong and touching and mercifully without sloppy sentiment because the feelings are deeper and much more genuine than mere emoting.
    i enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Your words mean a lot. I am always wary of portraying something too sentimentally – and I really try to stay away from that. I agree with you that understated emotion is often more affecting. Thanks, John.

  17. Very moving, Kate. Thank you for sharing it.

  18. Very touching post. I’m so glad the Spirit moved you to reach out to him. Blessings, Natalie 🙂 ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s