Today I was at my buddy Keith Hubbard ‘s funeral. An easy going, affable friend to many international students, Keith served at my side on several GO West, GO East & Florida Christmas Conference trips.
On one of those GW trips, Keith encouraged a young Japanese girl to join us. I don’t often ask one of our international students for a favor but on that trip my back was worn out by too much driving, hiking, cooking pancakes & leading the way.
Knowing that many Japanese daughters are trained to give their fathers a back massage when they come home at night, I glibly approached Keith’s protege and asked, “What does a Japanese girl do when her tired father comes home?” I was hoping she would take the hint and say, “Oh Uncle Bob. You must be worn out. Can I give you a back rub?”
Instead, she looked at Keith for a clue how to respond; thought about my question for a few seconds; and then floored me with what she did.
Completely out of culture and beyond my wildest expectation, she caught me off guard by uncharacteristically throwing her arms around me, hugging me and blurting out in a Southern draw, “Welcome home daddy.”
Where did that come from? Keith must have coached her on the nuances of American culture.
As everyone roared in laughter, I jokingly mocked: “No, no no. You’re not suppose to hug me! Japanese daughters don’t do that to their fathers! You’re suppose to give me a back rub!”
The point is, as I ponder what it must have been like when Keith stumbled into Heaven’s Gate, as shocked as his children, wife, family, and friends were to see him taken so suddenly, I see our Heavenly Father smiling, scooping Keith up in His arms, and boasting, “Welcome home good and faithful servant” (aka daddy, husband, brother, son, friend, and follower of Christ)!