Thursday, October 09, 2008

Walking a Measured Path

When I was just into my 30's I was working at a bank and finding life kind of rough. It didn't meet my hopes or my expectations. Decisions in life that I'd made without thinking had brought me to a point where I was feeling kind of cold about life and what mine represented.

Then one day I met Tom Jones, no, not the singer. This guy was a young and rising officer at the bank. We found we enjoyed each others company and music brought us closer together. You see, we both played guitars. So our dates revolved around that.

I think my life's dissatisfaction must have been present in our conversations because one day Tom asked me if I believed in God. He managed to do this in a way that didn't sound like he was trying to save me or anything like that. I wish I could tell you his exact words, but what happened after was more memory worthy.

We were sitting at the table in his place and I'd been talking about all the things wrong in my life. I even managed to spill soup on myself in the midst of crying. Tom was understanding, lent me a clean shirt, but after that he gently suggested I read the bible. I asked him what that would do and his answer was something along the lines of "it will give you good advice on how to live." So I guess I started seeking through reading.

I actually did. I read the New Testament because that's where Tom said I should start. My impressions of the bible were no doubt strange and sometimes silly. The morning after reading about Jesus cursing the fig tree I declared he'd gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Tom grinned when I said that but he also listened.

Eventually I read the whole New Testament, and at some point during that time Tom invited me to attend church with him and this lady he knew. That was where I got saved and the story of that evening was told back at the beginning of this blog in "Maintenance and Retro Learning". I'd never imagined that the receiving of a faith could be so real! Since that time I've walked through life knowing there was a God and he loved me beyond words and beyond reason, or at least from my perspective.

Looking back on those talks with Tom, I've come to realize that while I'd heard lots of proselytizing talks from friends or acquaintances, this one was real in a much more holy way and far less religious. I'd gone through the steps and stages that the bring people to Christ in a very natural way. All the salvation pamphlets list them. Seek and ye shall find. Confess your sins, repent and be forgiven. Believe and receive. Well I had sought, hadn't I? I was certainly unhappy till Tom helped me find that path. Confess my sins? I think that any believer is able to forgive sins in God's name. Tom heard me confess all my past sins at that dinner table. I'd cried over the things I'd done and wanted to be able to put them behind me. I'm sure that Tom forgave me, as did God. We stayed friends for many years. It was distance that separated us and I only hope that my friend is happy. When I went to church with him and Debra, his future girlfriend and my future best friend, I listened, believed, and received the Holy Spirit.

So who planned all of that? Not me. Not Tom. I think it was God. It just fit "the plan" too perfectly to be anything else. And that is how I came to believe, walking a measured path from dark into light. Thank God!


Sandi McBride said...

I think in our heart of hearts we know that our friends will listen with an open mind and a willing spirit to help us through the bad times in our life...this was a really good post, Lee...but then I knew it would be, my friend!

Lee said...

Thanks Sandi! Yes, true friends do listen with their heart as well as their ears. Just like you my friend!


murat11 said...

Nice memoir, Lee.

Lee said...

Thanks Paschal! Hope you all are feeling better.


Roxy Wishum said...

This is a great story and well told. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am struggling to learn to listen and know how to share the good news like your friend Tom did. Surely, it takes a genuine sacrifice of time and self to another person to earn the opportunity to be heard. A sermon and a pamphlet turns most of us off quickly. Thanks, I will be back.

Lee said...

Welcome, Roxy!

When we are on fire for Christ it can often be hard to keep quiet about our faith. When I went through my Cursillo I learned that the way to share is to not push our faith but instead to simply live it in the eyes of all. In the evangelism talk I heard was one saying that keeps coming back to me, "Be a friend, be a friend, be a friend, be a a friend, be a friend, be a friend, be a friend, be a friend be a friend be a friend, bring a friend to Christ!" I laughed after they finished that statement, but the message was clear. If we are truly being their friend we see Christ as already in them. Then if there is a need and the time is right, God will provide that opportunity.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

Sandi McBride said...

Congrats on POTD mention!!

Lee said...

Thanks, Sandi!

Hugs back!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy when I hear that someone has found comfort, that they have good supportive friends and I did not wannt to leave your site without leaving a comment.

It was a lovely story.
Peace and love

Lee said...

Thank you for sharing my joy, Moannie! I'm so glad you visited and I hope you'll come back!


San said...

A beautiful memory of a life-changing event, Lee. Things were falling into place for you, even when you didn't realize it.

It reminds us to look at our current lives and wonder what might be working out for the better.

Lee said...

It was nice to remember that time, San. Life seemed simpler then. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it.

My Mom was reading it on Sunday when I called and she and Dad met Tom when I was baptized in the Corpus Christi Bay on March 27th of that same year. They liked Tom too and were impressed with his guitar skill.

"It reminds us to look at our current lives and wonder what might be working out for the better." That's a really great approach to life, San. One of the best lessons I learned in my latest schooling was how to reflect and write about it. I'm a perpetual student so it seems to have worked well for me.


Leslie: said...

Over from David's and so happy to read that you've found peace.

Lee said...

Thank you, Leslie! And thank you for stopping by! I'll check out your place soon.