It was May of this year that my wife and I were in Charleston, South Carolina for a conference. One day we had time to do a little shopping in the downtown area and stepped into a “Brooks Brothers” clothier on King Street. “Brooks Brothers” is typically known for its good service, so we weren’t surprised to find a nice older gentlemen walk up to ask if he could help us. Like a tailor from years ago, he had a measuring tape draped around his neck, ready to fit a customer for pants or a coat.
He introduced himself as Saul and was very helpful in sizing an item that I decided to buy. At the check-out desk, I noticed that Saul had to ask the floor-manager a few questions about using the cash register. “I’ve got everything else figured out,” he said. “I just haven’t totally figured out this computer.”
Saul was so friendly that I didn’t feel the least bit awkward asking him how old he was. He reported that he was 79 years-old and that he had been working at Brooks Brothers for only a short while. He said that he’d been in a family clothing business for many years, until they sold — but that he was happy to be back in familiar waters.
“I think it’s wonderful that you’re still working. You seem to enjoy it so much,” I said.
“Oh yes, I do love my work; I enjoy the people,” Saul said.
Saul went on to tell me that after he had essentially retired from the clothing business many years ago, he decided to try something new. And in 1983, he enrolled in the College of Charleston School of Art, majoring in studio art.
“Going to school gave me a new purpose,” he said. “I still enjoy working in the clothing business, but I found that I really enjoyed painting as well. Come here, let me show you something.”
Saul led us over to one of the store walls where there hung a beautiful oil painting of a sailboat cutting through a restless sea. The lines of the boat were straight and handsome, and the sails were tight, filled with a strong wind. “That’s one of my paintings,” Saul said.
Amazed, we stood there enjoying the painting as I gathered my thoughts of how beautiful it was to meet this man of nearly 80 years who was still so terribly in love with life.
Days 26-28 Guide
This weekend think about the purpose that God intends for you. The course that you’re presently on may not be your ultimate destiny. God may have a plan to redirect your attention and your effort. Listen for the subtle voices that may be directing you to fulfill a new purpose in life.
Click here to read about Saul.
© 2005, Levi Hill