See You Later, Snowy

25 03 2019

He showed up one day at my high school.  A couple of my friends and I began to pepper him with questions. “Where are you from?  What’s your name? Why did your family move here?”

 

He just moved to my home town from Alaska and we, without hesitation, nicknamed him “Snowy.”  It stuck.

 

Snowy was quiet, but strong. He helped to begin the soccer program at our school.  He was a wrestler and a talented gymnast.  His specialties were the rings and the high bar.  Snowy could do anything athletically.

 

In his junior and senior years of high school he entered the mechanics classes at the local vo-tech school and excelled.  He could take an engine or a transmission apart and actually put it back together working properly.  How?  No one really knew.  He just could.

 

After high school he entered the Army.  It was there that he lost himself.  Southeast Asia was not good to Snowy and I lost touch with him for a season.  He did things in those years that damaged his body and his mind.

 

Some years after his military service, being married, having a daughter, being divorced, having another daughter and walking in deep depression, Snowy resurfaced.  He allowed me back into his life.  I was thrilled.  We had so much to catch up on.  And we did.

 

Snowy bowed his knee to Jesus and a brand-new relationship began between us.  He allowed me to disciple him and then the request came to water baptize him.  His pastor told me the tradition in their church was to baptize two times backward and one time forward and then he said, “Are you okay with that?”  I told him if I had the honor to baptize my friend in his church’s baptismal pool, I would do it standing on my head.

 

What a day…the washing away of the old and the receiving of a new life.

 

Another close friend was general manager at a Christian theater and he expressed that he was desiring to hire a person with a long list of multiple talents.  I remember telling him what he wanted in one single employee was impossible, but I knew just the guy – Snowy.

 

He was an engineering genius for them, minus the engineering degree.  His handprints were on many of the intricate, technical designs and creations needed for the hydraulic and pneumatic props.

 

He worked there until he became disabled.  The pain in his body was taking a toll and he found himself no longer able to physically meet the demands of the job.  His body quickly went backwards and pain killers became part of his daily routine.

 

Those forthcoming years would be hard, filled with pain and regression and an inability to meet all of his financial obligations.  I went to his tool sale at a garage he had rented on the side.  I watched him sit and eye every well used tool he once held and fixed things with being sold. With each tool purchased by a new owner, it was like another piece of him went out the door.  He knew he would never again find the emotionally and mentally satisfying repair work coming from his gifted hands and creative mind.  Something died in him that day and I saw a different Snowy clutching onto his wooden cane.

 

Snowy gave up; he stopped fighting and he was barely living.  He would reach out with his needs.  We would reach out to him to join us for holiday meals.  Most times he came, but some days he hurt so badly he couldn’t leave his small, two-room apartment.

 

The message from his daughter was a dreaded, albeit, somewhat expected one.  Snowy’s lifeless body was found in his apartment just days earlier. He was no longer answering his calls or sending me text messages.  Snowy was gone and with his Savior.  Too young and way too early.

 

I miss him.  I miss his offhanded, but witty remarks.  I’m going to miss our regular breakfast meetings where he always told the waitress, “Scramble my eggs hard…kill ‘em.”

 

Along with the Patriot Guard, I have had the privilege and honor of serving Snowy and his family by ministering at his full military memorial service.  It was a final opportunity to bless this man who came from Alaska just to be my forever close friend.  Thank you, Snowy, for the laughs, the rides to the beach in your amazingly fast Mustang, hanging out at your garage, the many spiritual discussions and our many, but not enough, breakfast meetings.

 

One thing I will never say to you, my life-long friend, is “Goodbye.”  What I will say is, “See you later, Snowy.”

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God Knows He’s Not Getting a Perfect Leader

18 03 2019

In a vision the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, has (Isaiah 6:8), God asks who He should send as a prophet to His people.  Isaiah immediately responds in two sentences and five total words, “Here am I.  Send me!” Have you ever said, “Here am I, send me” to God or have you hesitated, knowing He just might take you up on it? When I was a parent of younger children and asked who was available for a job, my kids would tend to make themselves scarce quickly. That reaction to a voice of authority is not uncommon.

 

However, leaders, like Isaiah, do not wait to see if anyone else is going to step up when something needs to be done.  Leaders initiate, take initiative.  They are raising their hands and are not hesitant to stand and speak up.  Leaders make decisions to lead and are willing to take the jump at short notice. Leaders obey God and know when to step aside and leaders obey God and know when to step in.

 

True Holy Spirit led leaders also know they are not capable within themselves to lead, they walk in a Holy sense of inadequacy.  At the same time, leaders who know the voice of the Spirit, walk in a confidence that their adequacy is from the Lord only.

 

I have been a leader for a long time.  I’ve wanted to be a leader and have been committed to growing my leadership skills.  I have never been a perfect leader, but often felt like a mistake- ridden one.  It goes with the territory.  But when you as a leader respond to God with, “Here am I. Send me,” God knows He’s not getting a perfect leader, but rather a leader He is perfecting.

 

Leaders need grace like everyone does, especially when making a mistake.  There is no perfect leader, only leaders our Father is perfecting.





Crying, It Does a Marriage Good

11 03 2019

My wife cries.  My eyes sweat.  There is a difference!

 

A sad movie, a sad story, repeating a sad story or re-watching a sad movie – my wife cries.

 

My eyes sweat during those times.  I have no idea what comes over me…feelings, I’m guessing.

 

Did you know that God collects our tears? Psalm 56 reveals, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”

 

Tears are actually a chemical wash to your eyes.  They are designed to help you feel better after a good cry because those chemicals cause a euphoria, so to speak, that helps to release emotion.  In that respect, it’s a healthy response or outlet. Tears have medicinal purpose because God made them that way.

 

So the next time your wife cries and/or your eyes sweat, let it happen; let it out and encourage your spouse to do the same.  Give one another permission to cry and do not attempt to rush in and fix the problem. Maybe all that is needed is a good cry or profuse sweating…whichever the case.





Have You Ever Felt Like a Failure as a Parent?

4 03 2019

There is a truth revealed concerning child rearing in I Samuel chapter eight in the Old Testament. Samuel was growing quite old so he appointed his sons as judges over Israel.  “But his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”  (I Samuel 8:3) It was after this that Israel desired a king rather than being ruled by a judge.

 

So often blame is placed upon Samuel for how his sons carried out their new-found power.  Had Samuel failed as a father?  The scripture does not indicate that he did.  Samuel’s sons made their own choice and Samuel was not faulted for those choices.

 

I have seen difficult children come from great families and great children come from difficult families. We like to think there is a guarantee, but at the same time, I have never met a parent with adult children that said there is a guarantee our children will walk as we’ve trained them to.

 

Our children, given the truth of God’s word, still live with freedom of choice and free will.  Can we as parents be good enough parents that somehow God is beholden to, indebted to go against their own will?  As well, the opposite is also true.  We, as parents can mess up and yet our Father is generously compassionate and merciful beyond anything deserved.

 

If your children are not walking as you expected then pray, ask God and do not walk in condemnation and failure.  Rather, walk in faith.








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