Tuesday, June 19, 2007
As we all grew into our mid teens we started to experience new and exciting things. Looking back now I guess you could call it life but for us it was not just life but an adventure. Everyday was a new adventure for us, especially in the summer. As I have said before, the summer always brought new adventures and with it came some of the greatest memories of all times. This is one of those memories.
It was sure hot that day, hotter than I had ever been before. This summer was one of the hottest on record. The lake being shallow was like a warm tub, we couldn't escape the heat that summer so we headed down to bella coola.
Bella Coola the name of the road that took us to the back side of the lake, there your would find these creeks that flowed into the lake, the creeks never seem to move, the water just stood still.
The water was so dark and the unknowns were real. It's funny looking back now, the snakes and alligators never seem to bother us. We just tried to make sure they knew we were there.
Black Creek, was our destination. The water was cool, black and deep. There was just enough room to pull your car over in tall grass before getting to the bridge. The silver guard rail on the bridge was flatten by some that went before us, their names were carved into the thick painted surface, ours were to by now. We had earned our right to put our names on that rail. Anyone who would swim there really had the honor.
At anytime there may be two or twenty of us swimming at that hole. One thing was for sure, if we were first on the scene we always picked up a large rock and threw it in. This was to announce our arrival to the snakes and alligators. The first one in was pretty much a dare thing, "you go first, no you go, no you go". Once we saw that person make it to shore with all their limbs we figured it was clear.
One game we loved to play was "under water tag". The water was so dark you couldn't see anything once you went under a foot or two. To get tagged you had to be under water, the rules were the name of the game. I would always shoot for the bottom, grabbing a log or something that was sticking up from the bottom. I would just sit there in the dark water, wondering sometimes what was near me. Every now and then something would tickle my leg or back and I would swim the top of the water, running up the shore to the top of the bridge screaming "snake!!alligator! We all would clear out and jump in again, laughing so hard sometimes we would lose our breath.
One thing about black creek, it brought out the best in you. You may ask how's that? How can you be so stupid, one to swim where you know the snakes and alligators live, two the unknown of the bottom and three the darkness of the water. Well, to tell you the truth this is life.
We live with the snakes and alligators of life every day, we live in the unknown of what's next and as for the darkness, if you know Jesus Christ, there is never darkness. As with black creek, there may be dark times but some day you will surface to the top victorious. You will surface screaming "I made it! I made it! I made it! You will live to tell others your story of the black creek you swam in.
One more thing about black creek that I need to mention, it's really quite and lonely in the darkness. When you're under the water about ten feet down, there is nothing but stillness, no sound, no light, no hope of being found, it's so lonely in the darkness. So the question to you is "are you in black creek?
If you are, there is always hope! Hope in Jesus Christ, don't let Satan keep you under that deep dark water, it will kill you, that what he wants to do!
1 Timothy 1:15-19 Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.
NOW! Fight to swim to the top, fight to get up that hill, fight to get back on that bridge and jump for joy when you reach the top, thank God for His mercy, by His grace we will make it, by His mercy we will stand and get ready for another amazing adventure.
Monday, June 11, 2007
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD
I would say that most of my greatest memories were conceived in the summer months. The summers of my teen years were full of fun and what I call "life lessons". I remember all of my summers being really hot summer. Maybe it’s because I lived near the lake and could go and cool off. It seemed every summer was different and to this day they continue to be that way. No summer has ever been the same and has always had one or two of those life lessons tucked away, waiting for me.
In my later teen years we all wanted to be our own person, we were developing into what our environments had programed us to be. We were products of our surroundings. If you think about it we all are. We do and think like those that are around us. Their were few exceptions to this rule.
At our high school we were know as the "boys home boys". You could spot one of us a mile away. We tried very hard to blend in and some of us were successful in doing this. One of my best friends had helped me to make this transition from the "smoking area" group to the "A-B" group. Although I would go between groups, Amy had taken an interest in me. She says it was my curls. We never dated or fell in love, we were best of friends and still are to this day. Amy had some friends though, that were really pretty. Paula was one of them. Paula had long blonde hair, the prettiest eyes I had ever seen and was chiseled out of a mold that would melt any teenagers heart.
I was in "love". Paula and I would meet up at school and sit under this big oak tree at lunch, talking about everything in life. I was so nervous to be around her, she was so beautiful. Amy would join us from time to time, I think she was making sure I was treating her friend just right and saying the right things. Amy would often coach me on the things women want to hear, what to say, what not to say.
Amy had arranged for us to meet on Friday and Saturdays nights at her house. Amy parents were so nice. They were the first and only parents that I had known to allow a "boys home boy" into their house, let alone around their daughter. We would go over and meet up, sitting in the formal area of the house. First, just talking and then making out. Not the kind of making out of today. This was what I would call "monitored" making out. Amy’s parents weren’t stupid, they kept a close eye on all of us. They were right on the other side of the wall. If I remember correctly there were no doors on this formal living room. They had this beautiful furniture, Paula and I would take one seat and Amy and her date would take the other. I guess you could call it a double date at the house.
Amy’s mom was beautiful also, she had a heart that just breathed love. Her eyes could tell you anything. Her dad was always nice and stern in his commands to Amy. This was a model that later I would use in life.
I found myself dating one of the most beautiful girls in school. This gave me something that I had never had before, confidence. A confidence that would soon teach me a lesson about life and love. Paula and I were getting along great, loving every minute of our teenage years. Then it happened. This tall, long legged blonde walked by us one day. I had seen this girl before but never really notice her, until now. Her name was Gina. Was it this confidence of dating Paula that made me notice her? Was it the fact that she was at the top of the "A" group along with her sister? Or was it the fact that I had Paula and couldn’t have Gina.
I must omit I was happy in my relationship with Paula and had no need to try and date another girl or even look at another girl. Paula was a beauty-queen. Gina didn’t even know my name and maybe that was the problem. I did get the nerve up to try and talk to Gina. She was very shy and quite. She was not a talker and didn’t seem to be interested in me so I backed off and continued my relationship with Paula. But there was a problem. A problem that I had not foreseen.
Amy had found out that I was wanting to talk with Gina. I will never forget standing under the walk way at the entrance to the school. Amy told me that it wasn’t right to try and talk to Gina and say your in love with Paula. After all Paula was one of Amy’s best friends but so was I. Was she going to turn me in? Would she tell Paula? All I had done was try and talk to the girl, but deep in my heart if Gina would have said yes I would have ended the relationship with Paula. I think this is what Amy knew to. She knew me better than anyone.
The story goes on and Paula ask Amy for advice "what should I do, should I break up with him? Amy, without hesitation said "do it". So that ended my relationship with Paula. There were no hard feelings at all, we remained friends throughout high school and I lost contact with her after we all graduated.
Amy and I still remain best friends. When we get together, it’s always fun bringing up these stories that truly did have an impact. Looking back you can really see God working. A few years later I would meet the woman of my dreams, Lisa and I have been married for twenty-three years now, raised two wonderful daughters and have been blessed with more than enough. God used all of these little things in life to make the big things seem easier that came our way. It’s His plan after all.
I believe you can pick out many life lessons in this story. When we have all that we want we always want more. We always seem to feed on wanting some things that just aren’t meant for us.
You see, God has a plan for your life. Sure this was high school and who could have known what could of happen. Some of my best friends made the most life changing decisions in high school, some decided to have sex and have babies, some decided to kill people, some even decide to take their own life.
This story, as with all of the others doesn’t seem to end. It’s still going. So what can I used here to apply to my life. I suppose you can say two things. One, God is in complete control of your life, no matter what you think or where you are at, your plan has been set out before the beginning of time. Sure we make bad decisions and do stupid things but the God who holds the universe on it’s axis and ushers in billions of star’s every night has a plan and you really can’t mess it up.
The second thing you could say is that every experience in life is set in your path for a purpose, it may not be a mountain, it may not be a valley, what ever it is, these experiences mold us to what we become, how we think and how we react to situations.
In a final word, there is nothing wrong with wanting more, wanting something different or wanting something new. When you have what you have be content and love it, take nothing that has ever happen to you for granite, there is a reason and a purpose behind it. God will use it for good no matter how bad it was or how bad it is.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Isaiah 60 says "I am God. At the right time I'll make it happen."
It was a hot summer night in Lake Waccamaw, not much going on as usual. We could have walked down to "Dupree Landing" or went fishing, but this night we chose to do something that would take our summer away and change us all forever.
There were about ten of us, all in our early teens. We weren’t looking for trouble just some fun on a hot summers night. There were several suggestions thrown out but none seem to satisfy out inner craving to have fun. So we took the last request and decided to go with that. We decided we were going to "egg" the first car that came around the corner on lake shore drive. We first needed the key ingredient and that was eggs. So we raided the pantry at the cottage and got several dozen and headed for the lake.
We had our plan mapped out, "hit the car with all we have and dive into the lake, splitting up and then we would meet back at the cottage later for the laugh. That poor car came around the corner on lake shore drive and it sounded like hail hitting it, I mean we tore that thing up, laughing and running at the same time.
We all hit the lake wide open, the car didn’t stop, you could hear the engine’s four barrel kick in, they were out of there and so were we. As we all went our separate ways, Rick and I found ourselves at an old boat house, we climbed out of the water and made our way back to the cottage. Then little by little the rest of the crew showed up.
We were laughing our heads off, carrying on like only wide teenagers could do. We all retired for the evening and had a peaceful nights sleep. We knew we had done something big and gotten away with it.
The next evening, Jim called a meeting with all of they guys in the cottage, there were about fifteen of us. He suggest that a car was "egged" at the lake last night and wanted to know if any of us had involvement with that terrible act. Of course we all said "NO". He gave us several chances to confess but we all held our ground. Then something crazy happen. He called each of us by name that had been involved with this terrible act, who would do such a thing we all said. As he lined us all up in front of the other guys, we were still denying what we had done. This didn’t seem to sway Jim at all. He had already decided our punishment. He said "meet me at the tool shed tomorrow night and every night after that until I say different".
We all hung our head low and went to bed that night. Knowing that we had to pay the price for that few minutes of fun. We all were in disbelief that we got caught, thinking how did he know. Did some one tell? If so that would have been grounds for "out casting". You never told on anyone or anything!
The next evening we all met at the tool shed, lined up, he was handing out "sling blades" and "chop axes", he pointed towards the rail road tracks and said "start over there and work your way to the east". The tracks went slam to Wilmington I thought to myself. Well, that summer we chopped grass from six o’clock until dark, then ran a mile. Jim was with us the whole way, telling us we had way to much energy. I remember how hot it was and how thirsty we would get. We could see all of the other guys playing on the field, going to the gym or just sitting around. We were in a place that had not bars or fence but was unescapable.
There was a great deal of talk that summer of running away but no one ever did. Our hands were full of blisters, our backs were hurting, we complained to deaf ears. There was a great life lesson being taught to all of us and the ones to come behind us. I think this story has made it to the "book of legends". I can see the boys talking now, "lets egg a car", then silence comes around the circle of guys and one says "you remember the story of those guys back in the day, There are many of these stories in the "book of legends". I had heard most of them from my years at the home.
I heard one of the guys that was with us that night became rich and had those train tracks removed from Lake Waccamaw to Wilmington. I visit the lake from time to time driving right past the place where we worked so hard to learn a lesson that none of us would ever forget. I can still see us out there. While we worked hard for our mistake we walked away that summer with a different view of life. If you do something that you shouldn’t be doing there will be a price to pay. It’s the law of the land, it’s God’s law. You reap what you sow, or better put there is always consequences to your sins.
In the act of doing a bad thing it was fun, but just for the moment. Later we paid the price! How did Jim know? Only he knows and to this day he has not revealed to us who told.
Well, as you can guess, we never even thought about "egging" another car. We learned a great deal about respect, respecting those who knew more than we did. We learned that we did something wrong, discipline was sure to follow, a striping of our pride and bad attitudes. We learned that there are some things in life we will never know, that no matter what you are doing someone knows about it. This is a great picture of God. He is all knowing.
I think the most important message in this story is, when we are in sin, we either deny it or confess it, to deny it means we are to prideful to omit we are wrong, to confess it means we know our wrong and are willing to correct it. Pride will either take control of your life or you can control it, we all have it to some degree. When that is put into check God can do more than you could ever imagine. That my friend is a great picture of Jesus on the cross, who died for your sins and mine!
I have thought for days on how I could end this story just right. There is no right way to end it because it never ended. Most of us involved that night are still alive today and are still living out this story. There were many stories after this one, we just got smarter and wiser......we thought!
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