Around the Campfire

All in God's Timing ~ Part 2  

Yesterday was the anniversary of my oldest brother’s fatal car accident. June 13th, 1976.

Cont. from Part 1 ~ 

And now I was face to face with the man who was driving under the influence of alcohol that night that took my brother’s life. 

However, I felt no dread. 

I felt no anxiety. 

Why? Because, I had already forgiven him twenty-five years earlier in a chance meeting that only the LORD could have arranged. My healing from hate had been completely and totally dissolved when I was instructed by the LORD to forgive him. 

And with that same amazing grace that I was obedient to follow, I was set free too, along with my new friend Doug Henkle. I really do consider him a sweet friend and brother in Christ. He is no longer that person that he was so long ago. 

And thanks be to God, neither am I. 

So, here we are, embracing again in a heartfelt hug that friends give each other when a long span of time has passed between meetings. 

Doug escorted us into a small sitting room between the very walls of the Capitol. Or so it seemed to me to be between the walls. I felt like I was in some sort of catacombs deep under the Vatican. I never would have found this cozy little area in a thousand years. But Doug knew exactly where to go. 

“Doug, what in the world are you doing here?” I smiled as I looked into his gentle face. 

“Well, let me tell you…” and he proceeded to describe the series of events in his life that had brought him from our meeting a quarter of a century ago to this very moment in time. God’s time. Doug was now a Guest Chaplain of the Senate! 

Bear and I shook our heads in amazement. 

We suddenly both knew that we hadn’t arranged anything at all that day. 

God had. 

It was HIS plan all along. We were being only HIS followers of HIS will. 

Doug rose from his chair and stated that it was time to go on up to Senator Larry Alley’s office. 

Boy, it was sweet to have a personal escort up into the upper chambers of the Kansas Senate. Everyone we met either gave Doug a quick hug or at least a genuine “hello”. Everyone. No exceptions. Everyone liked him.

However, we felt so out of place! 

Like a couple of country mice visiting their city kin. Bear was reminded that when he is actually on the Senate floor receiving his award to make sure he doesn’t have his cowboy hat on his head. Check. 

Doug, Bear, and Sen. Larry were standing out in the middle of the floor visiting and admiring the incredibly beautiful architecture inside the Chamber. We were all waiting on the Senate to reconvene after their lunch break. I was sitting the gallery area. 

God had one more little surprise in store for us. 

One of the other Senators approached me and leaned over the railing to speak to me. 

“Say, are you Barry Ward’s wife?”

“Yes, sir. I’m Victoria”

“And did he write a song about being hailed out of his corn crop?” 

“Yes, sir. It’s called ‘Not the Man I Used to Be’”. 

Now, I am totally wondering where this conversation is going.

“Well, I’ll be darned! Don’t you think I should be getting some sort of royalties off that song? ‘Cause I was the crop adjuster at that time and I was the one who drove him off the farm!” joked Senator John Doll from Garden City, KS. 

“Seriously LORD?” I am thinking to myself. How is all of this possible?”  

So, I joked back to him.

“Tell you what. Have your people call my people and we can discuss negotiations. But for now, I know Barry would love to visit with you! Go on over and interrupt those guys” I said pointing to the group standing not too far away. 

I sat there in total silence. 

It was all too much to comprehend in my limited brain. 

However, I knew that without a doubt, it was all in God’s Timing. Thank you JESUS. 





“If you can get me Barry’s accomplishments no later than Sunday afternoon”, Senator Larry Alley (Winfield), told me on the phone on Friday, “I can recognize him on the Senate Floor in Topeka on Tuesday. It’s our final day in session until next January! Here’s my personal email…” 

              “Holy Smokes! Seriously? Uh…you bet! I certainly didn’t expect anything like this…” I stammered into the phone. We were heading up to Kansas City on Monday anyway for a personal week off. We chose KC so we could see the boys and Liz. Topeka would be an easy trip to squeeze in since we’re already that far north. 

              Little did I know just how amazingly the LORD was lining up the blessings for us. The Senate recognition was only being used as a tool to get us to where He was waiting. 

              On Tuesday, we intentionally arrived in Topeka around noon so we could grab some lunch before our scheduled meeting at 1:00pm with Senator Alley. So, we choose a little coffee shop not too far away from the Capitol building. At around 12:15pm, my phone rang with an unknown number displaying a (785) area code. That area code represents northwest Kansas, so suspecting it was a telemarketer, I usually would let it go to my voicemail. However, this time, I slid it over to Bear and mumbled with my mouth full of upside-down cake for him to please answer it. 

              “Hello?...Yes, this is Barry…Doug Henkle? ...Why sure I remember you!...Um, We’re at a coffee shop about six minutes away from the Capitol…Yes…yes, got that…underground parking at the Visitor’s Center… In about twenty minutes..Okay…Thanks, sounds great, see you then.”

              “Who was that?” I asked while wiping off my mouth with a napkin and making sure I hadn’t drop anything on my dress.

              “Doug Henkle”

              I snap my head up and look into Bear’s eyes.

              THE Doug Henkle? From Garden City? THAT Doug Henkle?” 

              “Well, yeah, I think so…”

              “How in the world would that Doug Henkle know we were going to be at the Senate session today?” 

              “I don’t know…”

              “But wait, is he meeting us there? Inside the building?”

              “Yeah, he said he’d be waiting for us right after we go through security and then he’ll escort us up to the Senator Alley’s office…” 

              “I don’t get it! Is Doug Henkle a Senator? An aide?” 

              “Geez! Vic, I don’t know! What does it matter?” 

              “Because this doesn’t make any sense at all! I’ve not seen Doug Henkle for over twenty years! (actually, later I figured it up to be closer to twenty-plus years!). I don’t even know what he looks like! I won’t be able to recognize him! Oh boy, we need to stop and pray!” 

              So, we did. Even though that made us a little bit late, it was the what we needed to do. Well of course me telling Bear NOT to turn into the underground parking entrance that looked like a one-way exit instead didn’t help our time crunch either. 

              Sure enough, once we parked and checked last minute in the mirror to see if we had anything stuck in our teeth, we walked into the building and found security. On the other side of the security area stood a tall, distinguished gentleman in a business suit watching us and smiling. 

              I smiled back and gave a little wave hoping it was Doug Henkle. Immediately, my mind flashed back to our meeting the very first time we met face to face some twenty-odd years ago. That’s when I revealed to Doug Henkle that I knew his name, where he was from, and where he was at on June 13th, 1976.

              That was the night he was involved in a fatal car accident that took my oldest brother's life…



(to be continued in Part 2)