Ben called this afternoon while I was in my kitchen and he says to me, “The Metoyer house burned down last night and the family needs some clothes and food for their eight children cause everything is gone, so I decided to call some churches, and it was then I felt real bad."
I called this preacher down the road, and he tells me, “We got lots of families in need in our church. I don’t think the Metoyers were members. Let me check. Well, I see that they aren’t, so maybe you should find out who their minister is and ask around.”
Then I asked this other church, and they said they were losing their church and going bankrupt so they really couldn’t help.
Another preacher he said no because they are having trouble theirselves after some big legal bill because of a sex scandal in the church..
The last church I called someone said the minister left the church a long time back to run for politics and no they had nothing to give the Metoyers because they were helping with his campaign. “
When that Ben finished talking I figured that me and him should get busy and help those folks ourselves, cause that family ain’t been in Cloutierville too long and don’t have many friends. And Ben he brings these boxes into my kitchen and all these things from his house and has some all filled up and then puts them there with mine and takes them to his truck.
As Ben is going down the road to the Metoyers, I said, “God bless you child.”
But Ben he just looked at me, and then he shook his head and said, “I don’t believe in churches, Gran, just kitchens and in love.”
And I wondered when that child had left and I thought about the day, if maybe, well just maybe, God might love that Ben the best.
Abou Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------(first published in S. C. Hall's Book of Gems (1838) is this simple poem bearing the theme that to love man is the same as to love God. It also includes the line used as Hunt's epitaph: "Write me as one who loves his fellow men. For many years, especially in the 1950's when Granny was a young woman, used on Christmas cards)