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A Little Hug'll Do It!

Local character Val Torning's off to hospital again with a bad case of diabetes and an odd assortment of ailments appropriate to her history, but with a cheery sparkle emerging from happy eyes and a hearty chuckle that says that God is in it all somewhere.

It's February '99, and she's well into her 70's, manages the Lutheran Community Centre at Mt. Druitt and says every day she's running into hurting someones, and she's ready for whatever God has for her—again and—again and—again.... She says that no breath is ever lost in believing prayer.

Like any Grandma:

She's next to the Emergency room at Bankstown Hospital and she finds herself on the verandah in company with a 30-y/o man with a shunt (canula) dripping antibiotics into his arm, a fist wrapped up from injuries, dragging on an acrid smoke, and a dejected scowl on his face.

"Drip's for infection. What's wrong with your hand?" she asked innocently, like any grandma. He bragged that his mate lent him his car, turned out to be stolen, the police stopped him, so he's due for a court appearance. So he slugged his mate so hard it knocked out the mate's teeth—and broke his hand doing it! That's why he's here! And he's mad at the world and most people in it.

Jesus loves you:

"Well, I am just a nobody" Val thought, "telling everybody about a somebody who can save anybody."

Jesus loves you too much to let you go on destroying yourself like this she said. "And you're smokin' like a chimney, too! You must be the greatest fool out—three weeks hospital recovery for slugging your mate, antibiotic shunt for infection and drawing poison into your lungs like that!

Reality is for people who can't cope with drugs. You have the deathwish Val observed courageously, without a shred of fear of insulting the man.

"I'm a full-time crim," he threatened, as tho Val would wilt—name's Lulu, an 8 year-old son at home, (to elicit sympathy) and a de-facto that's left him. But I'm off drugs which is intended to demonstrate his strength. Well, Val remarked, you're perfect for Jesus to fix. They talked on....

Do you know who Jesus is?

Lebanese, Orthodox Catholic, on the run, scared ... aimless. A classic case that when he'd lost direction, he increased his speed....

"Do you know who Jesus is?"

"Sorta", he grunted. Val leaned forward and took a strand of his long grubby hair in her hand and commented, "Yuk. The hand's out of action, you can't wash this easily, but Jesus says every grubby hair is special to Him!"

"That so?" another indiscernible grunt.

Mob rule:

Four of the man's cronies turned up, caps backward, baggy shorts to the shins, unkempt, unshaven, violent and sullen, heard part of the conversation, so Val rose to surrender her chair. They too were clouding the air with smoke, but Val could not contain her despair longer. Mob rule displayed it's ugly self; - encouraging each others false bravado ...

"That must make four of the most foolish men I've seen in years," the valiant Val declared, "The Lord gave you two ends; one for sitting one for thinking. Success depends upon which you use, heads you win, tails you lose." Why don't you stop that filthy habit and give the world a break! "Strength is seen in what you stand for; weakness in what you fall for."

Val reinforced her courage with a quiet prayer and thought.... Don't get discouraged. It may be the last key in the bunch that opens the door.


One of the four moved forward menacingly when she talked of Jesus' love and saving, hovered over her and shouted, "And what are you going to do about it?"

Val, matched him in size, but three times his age, paused a moment, smiled slightly, looked him dead in the eye, reached up and whispered, "I think I might hug you!"

He fell back in shock, but the others scorned her offer with raucous laughter! And the vanquished Val quietly left, reminding herself that a soft answer turneth away wrath.

Next day the two met in the hallway. Grandma Val, and Lulu with the injured fist and the fractured home. No shunt, no smoke, no threat; dressed to go and he stopped her.

What could I do?

"Leaving so soon? Great. God bless you!"

He smiled sheepishly. "Will you do something for me?" His shuffled a bit, and his voice was soft and poignant.

"What could I possibly do for you? I'm here in the hospital, too. What do you want with an old lady?"

"Can I have that big hug you promised my mate yesterday!"


"Lord, I ask not that you promise to bless what I do, but that I will do what you promised to bless."

"In my youth I stressed liberty and freedom and in my old age I stress order. I made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order."

"Man will either be governed by God or ruled by tyrants."

"Pray devoutly, but hammer stoutly."

"Even the sinner admires righteousness. That's why he tries to imitate it."

"Christians should so live so that instead of being part of the problem, we are part of the answer."

"Christianity has not been tested and found wanting. It has been found inconvenient, and has not been really tried." – G. K. Chesterton

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