and my hilariously beautiful life...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dr. J and the pimp

   Dr. J. (like so many others I've written about in this blog) has made a profound impact on the person I am today.  I fondly recall something something he did several years ago that still makes me take a good hard look at how I live, and say, "I need to have a unique perspective like that guy."  I asked him if I could tell a story about him and he graciously said, "Uh...yeah, a blog about ME!? COOL!"
    Dr. J. has a this amazing confidence, wisdom, and awesome personality that just makes him a great leader, the kind of person that you see joking around a lot but also the kind of guy that knows how to get the job done. I remember observing something specific he did that made me change everything I think and do.
     He was hanging out one time with a bunch of people from church one day, just walking through town with us.  While walking through a rougher area, we passed by the corner that respectable citizens like ourselves don't often pass by.  The town scoundrel "Papa Willie" the pimp, was there in his purple felt hat, fat wallet, and a few of the poor women who were forced to do unthinkable, humiliating, degrading things daily.  A few of us in our group saw Papa Willie and started to say things to him that we felt maybe would cause him to see things in a new light. "Hey, you disgust me."  "You know you are going to Hell.  Doesn't that bother you at all?"  I remember one of the Deacon's wives pointing a finger at the prostitutes as she uttered, "how dare you's?" and "what would your mother think!?"  I was looking at Dr. J because he always had something interesting to say.  To my (and everybody else's) shock and awe, He told Papa Willie to take a break from work and hang out with us!!  Papa Willie wasn't sure what to do at first.  He was afraid of the narrowed eyes and frowns from the rest of the group.  He knew  our kind, and our kind wasn't so kind.  And then he looked at Dr. J.  He studied his eyes, trying to figure out if he was for real, or if this was some kind of a trick.  Dr. J must have been convincing because Papa Willie left his ladies and his boat of a car.  Good grief!  That filthy creep was ours for the rest of the day!

      Papa Willie didn't have much to say, he pretty much stayed close to Dr. J. and listened to the stories the good doctor shared with us.  "Hey, I have to make some phone calls.  You mind, I gotta take care of some bidness?", he asked Dr. J.  as we neared a phone booth (remember those!?) "We'll wait for you." was Doc's response.

     It seemed like Willie was making calls FOREVER.  I could tell most of our group was seething, but nobody had the guts to say anything to Dr. J.  I bet they were plotting to get him kicked out of our church.  When Papa Willie FINALLY came back to the group he had a big ol' grin on his face.  He had a sparkling smile (lots of gold. Lol).  "Hey." He said to Dr. J, "I got it all worked out.  I called some friends of mine and they want to hang out with you too.  They're (his posse) goin' to my place now and are taking down the girly posters and stashin' the pipes out of sight. Ya know, I wanna do that out of respect for you.  Know y'all don't dig that kind of thang."
     Long story short, we found ourselves amongst some pretty scary looking people that evening.  I learned a few new words (not ones I'd ever find on my spelling tests either).  But these scraggly, tattooed, glassy-eyed people were fascinated with Dr. J.  Nobody from any church had ever wanted anything to do with them.  I could tell they adored him for it.  When it was time to go, and we were alone in the church van with Dr. J.  Somebody had had it. "WHY IN THE WORLD did you just eat and drink with such scum??!!

      "Because I'm a doctor.", was his reply.  "Those people have been wounded and broken for years.  You guys don't need me as much as those people.  I live to heal hurting people."  WOW.  Thank-you Dr. J for teaching me to love people that others overlook.

Confession:  I wasn't actually there when this went down.  This is a story about Jesus from the Bible.  He was with religious people when he came upon one of the most despised people of the town.  His name was Matthew (also called Levi) - a tax collector.  Jesus really DID tell him to leave his job and follow him.  Matthew really DID host a party that evening for Jesus.  The religious people really DID freak out about it.  Jesus really DID make comparison to himself and a doctor.  Check it out in the Bible. ( I like the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION of this story myself) the passage is from Luke 6: 27-31

I love you guys! Thanks again for reading!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The trinket man

   A man in the church I attended as a "tween" always carried trinkets in his pockets which he handed out to kids in the congregation.  They were usually just cheap plastic toys, you know the kind, piƱata fillers you buy in bulk.  Sometimes they were a bit nicer like a fake gold necklace from the dollar store.  I loved watching the kids faces light up as he passed out his treasures, his face beaming as much as theirs.  Sometimes he even handed out trinkets to the grown ups.  They seemed to love it too.  He was the jolly church "grandpa" if you will.
 One day I noticed that I hadn't seen him in a while.  Others noticed too.  I remember overhearing a conversation about him, how he had become "sad", and how he wouldn't answer his phone or open the door to anyone.  I decided to write him a letter.  I don't remember the words in my letter.  I only remember mentioning that I missed him and I liked his little gifts.  Upon finding out that my Dad and another man were going to visit him, I handed my father my letter and asked him to please give it to the trinket man.

    When my dad returned home he said the trinket man wouldn't open the door but that he had slid my letter under the front door before he left. Trinket man did not return to the church.  I grew up, fell in love, got married, had a baby, went on the mission field, and never gave anymore thought to the jolly man who handed out treats at the church.      

     Nearly a decade later, while at a speaking engagement at one of our supporting churches, I heard my name called out as I was passing through the hallway on my way to get a double expresso at the cafe.  I spun around and found myself face-to-face with the trinket man.  It took me a moment to remember where I had seen this person before.  I don't think I fully knew who he was until he took a piece of paper out of his Bible and showed it to me.  He teared up as he showed me the very letter I had written so many years ago, and said, "I was going to commit suicide that day. This letter saved my life."  True story.

 Who needs a letter from you?  A bit of encouragement that costs nothing more than a moment of your time?  I had no idea the impact my words would have on that precious man.  We never really know how much a little love can affect a hurting person.  Forget about your computer for a moment.  Get out a pen and paper (real paper doesn't get easily deleted from an inbox) and write someone a letter.  Who knows? You may just save somebody's life.
 If you send someone a letter as a result of this post, PLEASE let me know.  Sign in anonymously if you wish.  Also, I'd love to hear about letter stories you may have.  Thanks all.  I appreciate you.  Glad you read today's post!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I SAW him do it. Thanks Dad.

    I remember as a kid going through the checkout lane at the grocery store with my dad.  The lady in front of us was carefully reviewing her items on the counter.  She paid with food stamps.  The clerk took her food stamps and explained to her that something was wrong with them (I was too little to understand that part of it).  She started to tear up as she began to gather her items to put them back.  But she never had to do that.  My dad said, "Ma-am, leave your things where they are."  He then paid for them himself.  I've witnessed him do that more than once.  Now grown,  I've been faced with similar situations in the checkout aisle.  But thanks to Dad, I know just what to do.  He didn't explain it to me.  He SHOWED me.  I could tell lots of these stories, wonderful things my dad did.  But I think I'll save them for future entries.

   Parents, your kids are watching you.  Are you teaching them how to steal cable, cheat the government? Or are they seeing you make people's lives better. What will you SHOW them that will make them great human beings?  Be like my dad.  Do something simple that makes people ask you if you're an angel.  My dad's answer to that was always, "No ma-am. I'm just a decent human being."  Thanks for the life lessons Dad.  To me, you're so much more than just a "decent human being".  You're a hero.

If you'd like to share a great lesson taught by your dad (or another person), leave a comment.  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When your parents say, "No." Ask God.

Lucy had been begging us for weeks for a pair of roller skates.  Our LOGICAL response was, "No sweetheart.  We don't go skating often and we don't want to spend $50.00 on a pair of skates when your feet will grow out of them so soon."
   This conversation so tired me that I eventually told her that if she really wanted those skates she would have to just talk to God about it because my resolve was final.  She immediately went into her room and I, wondering exactly what she was up to, stayed outside her doorway and listened as she (quite literally) cried out to God.  Her tearful words went something like this; "My mom and dad just don't understand how much I WANT roller skates.  And they won't get them for me.  I REALLY want skates God.  Will you give me some skates..PLEASE?"
     She never asked me for them again.  A week or so passed and we headed to Tulsa, Ok, where we had a busy but wonderful time.  The kids had been so patient and well behaved while Mommy and Daddy were having ministry time that we decided to take them to the zoo. On the way to the zoo we remembered a last-minute invitation to take Lucy to a community-wide kids event.  Long story short -We go for an hour.  There were THOUSANDS of tikes.  Just as we headed out, the loud speaker boomed, "Lucy Lusk you have a prize waiting for you at such and such location!" -   Yep! You guessed it. My little girl has a new pair of "adjustable" (how smart) roller skates.

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and you shall receive."  Later in the same chapter the Bible talks about how God gives better presents than natural parents.

I heart Thomas because...

So, here it is - my blog. I didn't think I'd ever do it but now the time has come. My thoughts are now public domain. If you like them, tell me. If you don't, well, you can still tell me but please be as nice about it as you can muster. And now I'd like to present my very first entry...

I heart Thomas (the one from the bible, he was a follower of Jesus who got to spend time with Him) because... he was a lot like me.

He saw Jesus do amazing things. He knew first-hand the miracles, saw them with his own eyes. Just like me.

He had child-like faith and ideas which Jesus loved him for. Just like me.

Jesus told the disciples that His friend Lazarus had died. Jesus then told them to view this as a good thing because what He was going to do next would cause them to REALLY believe. Jesus said, "Come, let's go see Lazarus." To which Thomas enthusiastically replied, "Let's go too - and die with Jesus."

Sweet Thomas. It never crossed his mind that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead. But he did think it would be quite the adventure for the whole group to die so they could visit with their buddy on the "other side."

I bet Jesus smiled the way I smiled when my daughter thought the word deadline meant getting your work done before the boss kills you.

And like Thomas, I am often amazed and surprised at the ways His plans unfold. I misunderstand Him often I'm sure. But just like He smiled at Thomas, He smiles at me. And eventually, I do get it. It's fun, believing the Bible. If you don't understand everything in it -it's ok. Thomas and I don't understand everything either, but we have a great relationship with Jesus. And that makes Jesus smile.

You can read what I read about Thomas today in the Bible. At the top of the page it says John. It is in chapter 11 and there are some smaller numbers too. The story is between the little numbers 1 and 41. Or another way it can be written is John 11: 1-41

Thanks for stopping by!