ONE IS ENOUGH
For several years Donnie was the sum total of the members in the Boys’ Club of Jacksonville. It was his thought that if Mr. Henry was willing to come over to the club house every week for only one boy, then he ought to put out the effort to come and meet with him. And so it went for three years. Every Friday after school they would meet, have a brief ritual which was suggested by the club rules, and then they would discuss one of the “Standards for Being Human”, as Mr. Henry called them. Donnie found out years later that they were a group of fifteen guidelines that had been condensed from Mr. Henry’s own experience and wisdom, gleaned from his seventy years of life.
They were not stated in religious terms, as you would expect from the Bible or other religious literature, but they certainly reflected some of the same truths found in such lists as the Ten Commandments and The Beatitudes.
Donnie was impressed by all of them and tried to put them into his own way of life as best he could.
On the day that Donnie left for college he went by to see the old gentleman and to thank him for the many values that he had received from their relationship over the years.
Mr. Henry thanked him for coming and then before Donnie left he did a very curious thing. He put his hand on Donnie’s shoulder and looked him steadily in the eyes for a long minute before
saying anything. And then he said this. “Son, you were the only member of our Boys’ Club
for those several years that I was the leader. On many occasions I became discouraged
and almost quit. But then I would think of your faithfulness and your desire to become the best you could be.
“Donnie, wherever you go I want you to know that no matter how bad the nature of mankind might appear to you, and regardless of how hate, violence, greed, and all of the other “vices”
might seem to be dragging your world or your country or your culture down into a pit of despair, I want you to know that there is a boy out there – maybe just one but one will be enough. And he will be looking to you. And he will be your “Donnie” and you
will be his “Mr. Henry”. And you will teach him by word and by your life the
“Standards for Being Human”.
And by doing that one thing you will guarantee, for both of you, that the glorious goodness and brightness of the Universe will dispel the darkness and depressing gloom that has temporarily settled upon your environment..it is always temporary, for darkness can only prevail during the short interval of time that it takes for each Donnie to learn from each Mr. Henry that darkness is always an illusion and only light and love are real.”
And Donnie walked away with the feel of Mr. Henry’s hand upon his shoulder, his loving gaze upon his eyes, and his words of light upon his heart.