My father is a quiet man. If I have heard one complaint about him my whole life, it’s exactly his awkward social skills at home. Growing up I got used to this man who always seemed to be most content alone with his thoughts. As I got older life took me away from home and there was even more geographic distance between us.

Now that he will be 88 this year, at the urging of my wife, I took two weeks vacation to spend time with my dad. I also needed some time away to get some perspective and rest from some of the challenges of life and ministry that had become particularly intense as of late.

And, not surprisingly, I found vintage Pastor Eulálio: quiet, unassuming, averse to multitudes, more at ease with his own thoughts. For a talker like me, this is a good exercise. I am forced to listen intently, as if hanging on the edges of conversion, to mine some nuggets of rare wisdom, which I invariably do with him.

3 IT BLOG 5-22-2015So I “perched” myself in the patio just about every day, after lunch and before the afternoon rains. There, I would read, think, pray, rest, and eventually fall asleep for a brief time, a nap made possible only by the magic of the ear plugs (after this trip I have decided that if I had to chose between ear plugs or headphones, I would always pick the former.)

2 IT BLOG 5-22-2015 At some point, after his nap, my dad would come out to the patio, Bible in hand as always, and he would sit there in his accustomed place, reading the Word with the curiosity of a two year old and the tenacity of a medical scientist who believes he’s about to make a new discovery that will revolutionize the way we live. My dad’s love and intensity for God’s Word has never waned and this is the greatest gift he has given me for which I will be eternally grateful.

By now I would be sitting on my hammock, pretending to read but watching him and marveling at what I was seeing — a man with a fifth grade education, stooped down a book, refueling his reserves to instruct some of the sharpest minds in these parts.

1 IT BLOG 5-22-2015People would usually come in with the standard “Olá, Pastor” greeting, and invade the magic, bringing him back to this world, as it were. On this particular day a member of the church comes by, Bible on hand, and announces, “I want to receive some instruction from Scriptures about dealing with some family members who are spititists” (followers of Allan Kardec).

And that’s when the chatty, social, jovial, playful but serious side of my father comes out. He sits there, listens to the questions carefully, and goes to the Bible, emphasizing every point, reading from both Testaments with the agility of a first class fencer. I pitch in here and there, offering a meager contribution, but then fade into the background, letting him do his thing.

Only God knows whether I might see my father again this side of eternity, but if I do, I’ve already made a decision: I will have my Bible with me every time I have a conversation with him, no matter the topic. I realized, maybe too late, that the Bible for my dad has the same effect that a T.V. set has for a lot of people. Have you ever met people who talk around the T.V. or need it to remain engaged in a conversation? Well, the Bible is it for my dad. My dad is not quiet. He is just quiet if the subject is something other than the Bible. Strange but wonderfully true.

For those who live near him, if you care, you might catch a glimpse of the old man in his accustomed place. If you decide to come in, bring your Bible and be ready with a question. He will be delighted to serve you. But don’t wait too long. The patio may look different if you do.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA