Sunday, November 8, 2015

Think you got it made?

“Faith doesn’t make sense.  That’s why it makes miracles.”  -  John Di Lemme

“Faith means trusting in advance what only makes sense in reverse.”  -  Phillip Yancey

     I love following the stories of those who have truly turned all areas of their life over to God.  Today we are taking just a glimpse of one of those.  It is a story of a man who finally connected and continued to follow the path even though it seemed clear that it wouldn't take him to the destination he desired.

     This man was a talented mechanic and machinist – he was the head maintenance man at a newspaper, a job approaching six figures back in the 90’s.  He had a problem with alcohol, and ended up going to a treatment center.  When his time as a patient was done, he felt moved to stay on as the maintenance man.

     The treatment center is male only, and has been around for many years. Of course this man longed for female companionship, and of all the things he wanted most he desired to have some acreage in the rolling hills of Ohio.

     Maintenance man at the treatment center gave him a bed to sleep in, three meals a day and a wage of about $3.00 per hour.  This made no sense with the goals he had in mind, but in prayer and contemplation the answer was to stay working at the mission. 

     As the head maintenance man at the mission, all the clients would gather at his shop to chat.  In many ways he did more counseling than any of the counselors did.  His willingness to remain a calm and steady voice of reason at the mission saved many men’s lives.

     After eight years there he met a woman who had no material assets to speak of and who had gone back to college to get a degree in clinical counseling.  She had been praying for ten years to have her life mate revealed, and although she had been given a vision of his face she had no idea where to meet him.  But meet they did, and marry they did.

     So now they lived in the basement of a house on the mission grounds.  He continued to work maintenance and she continued to work on her degree.  She worked part time doing social work and he worked part time fixing people’s lawn mowers and cars. Anyone can tell you – if you want to buy some acreage in the country this is no way to go about it.  It just isn’t happening.

     I have known of the date of his sobriety for some years, and I try to call him every year on that date.  This year he had completely forgotten that it was the twelfth anniversary.  He and his wife had just closed on better than 12 acres of land in the rolling hills of Ohio – that very day.  It is the property in the photo at the beginning of this article.

     When asked how they managed it they both say they have no idea.  They prayed and were led to look at the property, and then they just followed the guidance they were given.  Within a month the property was theirs.

     She now has a master’s degree and works to help people rehabilitate their lives.  With their move out into the country, Brent has a new job also.  He now collaborates with employers and people with disabilities  to find matches that allow those with disabilities to find and keep gainful employment.  He works with them their first few weeks on the job to help them grasp and master their responsibilities.  And both Brent and Michelle are active in their church community.

     This photo was taken while I visited Brent for a few days on my return to the Carolinas last week.  The second day I was there, he knocked on the bedroom door about nine o’clock in the morning.  “Dave, you got a minute?”  “Sure Brent, what’s up?”  I replied.  “I broke my arm.” “You bleeding?”  “Nope.  But I fell off the roof and need to get it set.”  

     As we are bouncing down country roads on the way to the hospital he says “You know, I think I have a little shock going on.  I bet this is going to start to really hurt in a while.”

     After the hospital does x-rays, they tell him his wrist is shattered in so many pieces that they can’t set it.  He has to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.  No big deal - Brent says how grateful he is that he didn’t land on his back.  And now he is learning to perform tasks with his other hand.

      And that is what life is like when you are living in the spirit – nothing makes sense but everything fits just fine.  You find gratitude in everything that presents itself.  You don’t sweat the small stuff – and you realize that it is all small stuff. 

      These are the people I love most to be around.  They are quiet and stay in action, but make no mistake.  In my book they are rock stars that shine with a far greater light than anything Hollywood has begun to dream of.

     A footnote – the photo of Brent with his cast?  I sure hope he gets mobility of that finger back – it might be tough getting taken seriously if it atrophies in that position.

Today, I am grateful for true friends. 

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This is our only chance to fully live this day!!

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