Friday, June 10, 2011
A brief introduction:
My name is Paul Howley. Some people have called me the "luckiest man in the comic book business" but that all changed as of January 9th 2001, when our son, Adam Howley, died.
The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 46
Mal Howley: age 46
Adam Howley: my son, age 21
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 16
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP-Part 177
“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, Life Goes On.” Part Three.
On that freezing-cold day in February of 2001, thirty-nine friends from our church in Laconia, New Hampshire joined us as we anxiously waited for Adam’s friends to arrive in the park of Newport, Rhode Island. As the “Park Rats” arrived, we encouraged them to sit on the tarps we had set up on the frozen ground and they huddled together to try to keep warm. Eventually, about sixty young people who knew our son Adam came to hear what we all wanted to share with them.
Mal began by assuring the kids that Adam had really loved them. She explained that Adam understood the importance of love because of the love that God had for him--perfect love with no conditions, a free, undeserved gift from the creator. Mal explained the concept of the beaded bracelets that our church had made for Adam’s friends and she gave them out to all of the kids.
We invited some of Adam’s Rhode Island friends to come up and share about Adam. A few of the kids shared some poetry they had written about Adam. I read a poem Adam had written during his stay in Newport.
Some of the teenagers from our church performed a short play called “The Doors Drama.” In this short, nearly wordless play, a young woman moves from door to door, seeking fulfillment in her life. She tries drugs but finds that path to be an empty promise of happiness. She tries materialism but that is also unsatisfying. After several more options, she opens the door that the Creator of the Universe offers and finds purpose and fulfillment. “Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)
“So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Our friend, Eric Robinson, stood and shared a message with the kids. He explained that he understood their reluctance to conform to what “society” wants them to be like and related their feelings and ideas to his own teen-years as a rebellious non-conformist. Eric let them know that the void they felt in their lives could not be filled with drugs, sex, or money. But God, the Creator of all, can fill our lives with direction and purpose. Eric urged the kids to consider this, not because they thought Adam would want them to, but because they truly wanted to explore a deeper relationship with God. He asked anyone interested to come up front so that we could pray with them and talk to them about the spiritual possibilities that this could open up for them. Out of approximately 60 kids, 41 of them came up front to hear more.
We had contacted a local church to ask if they would be willing to be at this meeting to offer support to any of the kids who wanted more information. They did come and they recorded the names and contact information of the kids who expressed interest.
Because of Adam’s death, a seed was now planted in the hearts and minds of dozens of kids.
Pictures: Adam in a car in Newport, Rhode Island (one of my favorite pictures…he looks very happy here!)
Adam with some of his Rhode Island friends.
Adam with his friend, Aleeta.