Wednesday, November 10, did not seem like an eventful day for Joey Melton.  He got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, took his lunch and went to work.  None of us would have suspected that this would be his last day on earth. How could we know that by 2pm he would slip into eternity?  He was not sick.  The behaviors which had haunted him most of his life had been tamed and subdued.  He had become known as the “gentle giant.”  He would touch, not strike.  Though still able to crush, Joey caressed the things he found fascinating and beautiful.  But Joey was not to remain here.  The Lord had a better plan for him.  (Read Psalm 4:1, 6b-8.)

          During the praise and worship time at The Special Gathering, Joey danced through the praise.  At first, he would sway during the music at his seat.  When he started knocking into people, some thought that we should make him stop.  But this was his expression of joy and delight in the presence of His Lord.  That joy should not be suppressed.  Gently Gladys LeGrow or Dan Guiles, his Bible teacher, would lead him into the back of the room or into the aisles.  He only danced during the fast music, the praise music.  After the praise time, he would slowly move back into his seat as we sang the slower worship music.  Joey knew the difference between praise and worship and always responded appropriately.

Joey had several special giftings.  He could down a 2-liter bottle of soft drink in less than 30 seconds.  He could eat a meal in record time and his smile would brighten the saddest heart.  Once at work, he got into a highly concentrated red drink.  The results were astronomical.  As you know with our bodies, what goes in must come out; and within a short time Joey was pouring red from both ends.  The staff was puzzled and confused until they found the half empty bottle of red drink with the lid off.  It was clear that Joey had tried to finish off the entire bottle.  Thankfully, he did not succeed.

Joey loved work, church, Amy and Michelle. His caregiver, Tom said that at one Sunday afternoon dance with the Rec Department, they missed him.  He was found on the dance floor smoosing with some tiny little female girl.  It was apparent that Joey had a secret life of romance that he did not share with his group home family.

Joey was selective about whom he gave his affection.  While it was apparent that he loved, Dan, his Bible study teacher, he withheld his affection from me for several years.  But there came a wonderful day when Joey sought me out and extended his hand to me for a handshake.  I knew that I had won a great victory that day.

Through his praise and worship, his delight in attending church, Joey shared with us his devotion to Jesus.  While he often had to be directed to the next class, Joey sat quietly, absorbing the Word of God as his teacher, Dan, or I taught.  Each of us has something that we can share which shows our devotion and love for the Lord.  Joey danced and sat quietly.  Can any of us really do much more?

Psalm 8 says, “You have taught children and babies to sing praises to you.  I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers; I see the moon and stars, which you created.  But why are people important to you?  Why do you take care of human beings?  You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”  Few people here on earth understood the glory or honor that God graced on Joey.  Yet in heaven, right now, the angels are singing because he has come home and Joey is dancing.

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