A good friend of mine, Dave, seems to enjoy life more than almost anyone else I know. He just lives life to the fullest and rarely have I seen him publicly have a “down” day. Whatever seems to be going on around him becomes the center of attention in his universe for the moment and anybody who has been in Dave’s presence has undoubtedly felt the pull of his gravitational force. You just can’t be in a bad mood around him!
He’s a devout family man – and relishes the thought of sharing time and going on vacation with Karen and their daughter, Katy. But his schedule would kill me; and I have told him so… I have 10 years on him so I figure sooner or later he will slow down a little, but I don’t think that I would place a large wager on it.
Dave also has the most interesting projects going on all the time. He is a Star Trek fanatic and was involved in the latest web based program, “Star Trek Continues.” In fact, Dave lent the production a number of his props and memorabilia from his own Star Trek collection. One year, Dave even let me borrow his Captain Kirk uniform to wear at a Halloween party!
This past December, Janet and I joined Dave and his family in Colonial Williamsburg for the celebration of Grand Illumination – the lighting of fireworks on the first Sunday evening of December. It was awesome! I guess I should add that even the mention of Williamsburg elicits a broad smile from Dave and Karen! Janet and I have already made our reservations for this coming December. Who would want to miss that celebration?
He’s actively involved in mentoring young fraternity brothers on college campuses and is also an avid fan of anything Frank Lloyd Wright – having attended weekend workshops and visited numerous Wright built homes around the country. On top of all this, Dave and his family are actively involved in their church and are gifted musicians who make the world a better place with their music. David even composes songs and is a talented, gifted pianist.
Speaking of that, Dave and Karen also enjoy all things theatre. Whether it is a cabaret or an intimate night at a small venue featuring the work of local actors, Dave is at home. They support the arts, are active in community causes and can always be counted on to lend a hand to help out.
If you love Disney, enjoy cruises or can inspire Dave with trivia about just about any topic he finds interesting, you have found a new best friend. He is a particular expert in anything having to do with the state of Indiana, having grown up here and spent his entire life in the Hoosier state. You just can’t have a bad time with Dave in the room.
This brings us to David’s latest venture – the restoration of a 1951 Studebaker automobile – built, of course, in Indiana. While most of us would put the car up on blocks and drive it on Sundays, Dave plans on it being his daily driver. I don’t think I have ever seen somebody so jazzed about a car. He absolutely lights up whenever the topic of his new ride comes up. He even had a book made – chronicling his purchase and delivery of the car back to Indiana.
It’s been a true labor of love. A rebuilt engine and transmission, new convertible top and a host of other repairs and restorations too numerous to mention. I would have given up by now but Dave just keeps smiling, knowing that the finish line is just around the corner – if something else doesn’t go wrong. I don’t know that Dave even knows what he has invested at this point in the project but it doesn’t matter. The joy he derives from this endeavor far outweighs whatever he has put into this new love.
So after all the heartbreak, and the delays, and finding parts no longer made, David finally got to drive his car several weeks ago – complete with a new engine. Mind you, it wasn’t a long drive. The video I saw was really only 20 seconds or so with Dave at the wheel, driving across a parking lot, but the smile on Dave’s face in that clip was a mile wide. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone smile such a genuine smile! It was one of those moments of joy that came from deep within him. Nothing was going to spoil that moment – and it showed. I was caught up in the moment for him – thrilled beyond words at watching this simple joy explode into something indescribable. What a blessing to have moments like that in your life, or to be a silent witness, as I was, through the wonders of technology and social media.
And David is no stranger to those moments. His infectious presence can turn a bad day into a wonderful one. By the way, that’s what God wants for us. He wants us to be joyful! Because joy is a condition of the heart – originally instilled in each of us by God as a gift. Our verse for tonight confirms that God is involved. The prophet Nehemiah tells us of one such occasion when the people celebrated. He tells us, in Nehemiah 12:43, “And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
That’s the way it is with Dave. He celebrates life. And the joy he exudes finds it’s way to others – just as it did when I saw the video of Dave driving his ’51 Studebaker the first time it was roadworthy after major repairs. My encouragement tonight is that God wants us to be joyful – and to impact the lives of others with our demonstrations of joy. My prayer is that you will find a Dave in your life – someone who can lift you up when you are down, can come to your aid when you need a friend and can celebrate life the way he does. Well done, Dave. I’m honored to call you, and your family, our friends. God Bless! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…