God, This Is What Happened!
Lloyd was a good friend of mine growing up. Maybe we were good friends because he was the exact opposite of me in a lot of ways. He was always talkative, always trying to justify whatever it was that he wanted. I was shy and kept to myself a lot. Maybe it was the fact that Lloyd was like he was that attracted me to him in a weird way. They do say opposites attract and it surely can relate to friends too I think. I have already written about Lloyd in a couple of different stories. One was “Leaving A Record Behind” where I almost drowned in a swimming pool. Although it was Lloyd who saved me, it was also Lloyd who got me into that situation in the first place! The other story Lloyd was in was “Taking A Flying Leap” where his ranting got me so upset I tried a flying drop kick big time wrestling move on him, which didn’t work like it did on TV and knocked me out! You could say that I am blaming Lloyd as an excuse why I made bad decisions those times and you would be right. In retrospect though I can’t blame anyone or anything for what happened. Though we are influenced by circumstances and people it is important to note that we have the final say in decisions we make. The decisions that I make in life are mine and mine alone.
I think that Lloyd missed his calling in life. I think he should have been a Lawyer. They say that the mark of a good coach in sports is that they could take their team and beat yours. They could also take your team and beat theirs! That usually described Lloyd when it came to arguing. It seemed he could take any circumstance and turn it in favor of his argument. He was constantly talking my mom into things after she originally said NO! Usually they were things he wanted us to do which she was completely justified to waiver either because of my safety or some other flaw in his plan. When she said NO it was Lloyd who would make the plea of “let me talk to her!” Of course Lloyd would say whatever it was that would reassure her that everything would be alright. It was Lloyd who would talk so smoothly that it made her back off on her fears because he would be there. It was Lloyd who undoubtedly could turn the argument in his favor and get what he wanted.
It was a Sunday night and Lloyd was 16 and I was 15. He was driving us to church along with a couple of other kids. Lloyd had a car and he opened up our world back then because he could get us places! Lloyd had a tendency to step on the gas pedal a little too hard and this Sunday night was no exception. On this particular Sunday night traffic was very thin. I think he was doing 50 when the speed limit on the road going to the church was 25 or 30. Almost nobody was on the road except us and unfortunately a car with lights on the top. Yes, the lights were flashing and Lloyd pulled his car over. With the successes of his winning arguments in our minds, we thought there was a good chance he could talk the police officer out of this one! We didn’t hear the conversation that went on, as the officer had Lloyd get out of the car and when he came back he had a ticket. I don’t know if he tried to make a case, but if he did it went on deaf ears.
Recently I was driving home from work. The roads were terribly icy and very dangerous. Slowly we all were creeping along as we stopped for a traffic signal. One car which I couldn’t help keeping an eye on spun out of control in the lane going the other way. Luckily for her nobody else was in her lane going that way as everyone seemed lined up in our direction. It didn’t look like she had ever driven in bad conditions before because she was trying to go way too fast! After her car spun out she pulled into a nearby driveway and backed up way too fast. I sat there watching her as she spun her tires and saw her car coming straight for me. I laid on my horn as she was getting dangerously close. Suddenly I heard the thump and knew I had been hit. She had backed her car through her own lane and all the way over into our lane. I got out to try to inspect the damage as the cars were all lined up waiting to go. On quick examination I didn’t see anything and thought somehow I was extremely lucky. I asked her what she was thinking and she said “did you see how slippery it was and how I was sliding all over the place?” I thought to myself, “If you were sliding all over why were you trying to back up fast?” A friend who happened to be behind me told me later that the lady wasn’t interested in looking for the damage in my car and after our brief exchange she ran to her car and took off in a hurry. Of course when I got home I found the dent. It was higher than where I was looking as she had an SUV vehicle. Unfortunately I didn’t get her name or insurance policy or anything. I blame myself for that omission and think about it every time I pass the dented area of my car!
It was lunch time and I was walking out to my car recently. Suddenly I noticed to my horror that my life was in danger! A car was backing out of a spot and was coming at me at a pretty good rate! I quickly started running in the other direction and it missed me! Quickly I ran up to the window to see who was driving so carelessly. I saw the person that I knew and they gave me a quick waive and left. I didn’t see this person for a few days but one day we were walking out the door together. I made a statement calmly kind of in passing. “Be careful backing out of your parking spot, you almost hit me the other day!” I hope under the same circumstances I would have said “Oh I am so sorry! Obviously I wasn’t thinking or something, please forgive me!” The response I got was “Oh, you were probably in my blind spot. I always look before, you must have got in my blind spot.” In my mind I’m picturing a court of law and the judge asking this person “so how do you plead to running over Lewis in the parking lot?” “I’m completely innocent judge, you see he was at fault because he was walking in my blind spot!”
Kahler and I are great friends and we play racquetball every week! Previously I wrote about our weekly battles in “What Is Your Hometown Like?” Anyway we both enjoy the competition and the fact that we feel better after we play! It is hard to find time to get exercise and this weekly time helps us do it in a fun way. Our abilities are fairly close but lately Kahler has been beating me. I think he has won five or six straight. The last time we played he pulled out ahead again which seems to be the way it’s been going. We play to 15 and he got up to 13 points when I started chipping away at his lead. I was serving and had 12 points to his 13. My serve looked to me like it was 6 inches past the line and I was waiting for him to hit it back when I heard him say “Short!” I have to admit that it upset me because clearly I saw it being good. Kalhler from his view didn’t see it that way. I want to say here that I know that he would never do anything that he didn’t think was justified and neither would I! It was just a case of two people seeing something differently. Yet in the heat of competition I lost my composure. When he invariably won the point on the second serve I tried to whack the ball as hard as I could into the wall in frustration. Unfortunately it hit Kahler in the arm and I felt bad. We have played probably 300 times and after every game we shake hands. I was still so frustrated after he finished me off that I didn’t shake hands with him. Clearly however I felt I acted completely out of line. My wife put me in my place when I mentioned what happened when I got home. “You are not playing for money or anything so who cares?” Unfortunately I did and my actions weren’t right. I can still picture Kahler’s look in my mind as he was stunned after getting hit with the ball. In the end nobody felt good about what happened.
A couple of days ago I saw Kahler in his office. I felt tears come to my eyes as I asked him to forgive me for how I had acted. I remember my mom was much the same way! A wonderful Christian person with enormous faith she sometimes battled her temper. I don’t remember exactly the circumstances but I do remember her getting upset with me a couple of times. Invariably we wouldn’t talk for a day or two. Then the phone rang and it was her. In circumstances like that some people might start talking like nothing had happened but that was not my mom’s way. The first words out of her mouth were that she was sorry and I knew it was heartfelt because she would be crying.
I sometimes wonder why it is so hard for people to be remorseful? Why it is so hard to say you’re sorry and mean it? I think it is a matter of pride. People don’t like to admit they are wrong because they see it as a sign of weakness. Yet in reality it is a sign of strength! Who in their right mind would claim that they are perfect? From what I understand about the Bible one of the biggest flaws that we can have is pride. As the Bible states “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” How hard is that to admit and how many times do we try to justify our actions to right the wrong we did? While we are still here we need to be remorseful for sinning and forgiving to those that trespass against us. We need to come to a point in our lives when we realize that we can’t get ourselves into heaven. It is only through God’s grace and his grace can only be received when we admit our short comings and accept his son as a sacrifice for our sins. At that point Jesus Christ becomes our mediator (kind of like our Lawyer!)
I’m picturing the Great Judgement and that court room we all must go through with God as the judge. In this life we make a choice for that day of Jesus being our lawyer or representing ourselves. I’m sure many going it alone will try to justify themselves thinking that they can argue themselves out of it like Lloyd often did. Many will argue that due to circumstances the event was in their blind spot. To the true believers though our attitude should be completely remorseful. “God I throw myself to the mercy of the court. I have sinned greatly against you and only by your grace do I stand here unashamed before you.” It is that attitude that the prodigal son had when he came to his father completely selfless and humble. His father rewarded him greatly much like how our Heavenly Father will reward us for having the good sense of accepting his son Jesus as our representative and the only way to eternal life.
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997
by Lewis Hamilton
The prosecuting attorney had his case prepared
to send me straight to jail
He had evidence to string me up
so I knew he wouldn’t fail
He called out with a convincing voice,
We’ve got movies of your sins
The courtroom door was opened
a projector was wheeled in
We watched my actions prove his case,
my hands were very red,
my sins were played on a big screen
He roared son, you’re as good as dead!
I glanced at my attorney
What would his reaction be?
His smile caught me by surprise
with the evidence against me
The prosecuting attorney made his case
It took three hours, maybe four
He had a list ten feet long
or maybe even more
He glided by my attorney
with a smile upon his face
He’s guilty as the blackest sin,
you don’t even have a case
My attorney walked up to the bench
He said, Father, Here’s my plea
I know this man is guilty
just as everyone can see
But he asked me to forgive him
and you know I paid the fee
So I ask you, my loving father
Please, set this captive free
Son, the judge and father said,
Consider your will done
The price you paid was more than enough
to cover everyone
He hit the gavel on the desk
and threw away the list
He said with a voice of authority
This case is dismissed.
For there is one God and one
mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave
himself as ransom for all men-the
testimony given in its proper time.
I Timothy 2:5-6