Friday, March 4, 2016

certain man

"What would you change?”
Kay and me in the early days 

    I don’t know if it can be traced to the medication I was on following the surgery to my massive biceps, or if it’s the result of the weird protein diet I’m on, but something has been doing a number on my brain.

    My condition became apparent after supper Tuesday evening. I had just finished my one-cup of rutabaga fries. Kay and I can’t eat anything made out of potato, but we can eat rutabagas and other bad stuff. Anyway, I was staring at the one fry that had fallen from my plate onto the TV tray.

    I wasn’t pondering the notion of eating it. There was no way I was going to stick one more of those vile things in my mouth. I was just studying it. After a few seconds I uttered these very words: “Kay, what if the person who invented the french fry had first grabbed a rutabaga instead of a potato?”

    Kay’s answer? “I never thought of that.” -- Never, indeed. Nobody with a normal mind has ever thought about that. I even had a vision of me talking to the voice in the speaker box. “Of course, I don’t want fries with that! French fries are rutabagas!”

Yes, my mind was on Level 7 of the Deep Chart. My mind carried me to the moon. What if while exiting the Landing Module, Armstrong had tripped on the last rung? What might the first word spoken from the surface of the moon be? What if President Lincoln had gotten a migraine shortly before the play?

The rest of my evening was spent toying with cases of “What if?” At one point it hit me. -- What if there had been no “certain man.” – Beg your pardon? Oh, there is a person known only as “a certain man” whose one action set in motion a series of historic events that has placed mankind in the position it’s in today. – Wow! What a powerful sentence. I can’t wait to read what’s next.

To find the man, you have to go Genesis 37: 15. I’ll save you the trip. “Now a certain man found (Joseph) wandering in a field.” It seems a young Joseph was sent by his father, Jacob, to find his brothers who were following a bunch of sheep. Joseph was apparently way off course. The “certain man” who found him said, “They have departed from here. For I heard them say ‘Let us go to Dotham.’”

Long story short, Joseph finds his brothers in Dotham; his brothers sell him to a caravan headed for Egypt; Over a period of about 15 years, Joseph goes from slave, to prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt, who saves possibly a million or more people in the Middle East during a seven year famine.

Joseph’s brothers and their families end up coming to Egypt, where their descendants live for 400 years until Moses comes to lead ‘em out. Their eventual home became the land west of the Jordan River, land that is now occupied by Israel and Palestinian controlled Gaza and the West Bank. A land that is considered the birthplace of three religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

If you take the second most powerful man in Egypt out of this equation, the sequence of events would’ve been tremendously altered. As a Christian, I believe God oversaw the entire sequence, and that He could’ve achieved his purpose one of many ways. The thing is, He chose “a certain man” to keep things in motion.

The thought of the “certain man” story got me to thinking about the “certain” people and events in my life. I’ve mentioned it more than once how the Hayter family moved from Oklahoma to Texas two years before I was born. We left Oklahoma because Daddy lost a coin toss, and with that his half ownership in a company, “Three Ninety Well Servicing.”

    I’ve also told you the story about how something I wrote on an index card resulted in me deciding to get a degree in Forestry; and how years later a young preacher named Earl gave me the idea to become a teacher; and how another friend named Barbara, helped me get my first teaching job, which resulted in Kay and me moving to Conroe from Huntsville. And, in Conroe, I found another friend, Virginia Pliler, who encouraged me to write an article for the Courier. 

    These are just some of the “certain ones” who nudged and pulled me through life. By the way, practically every one of these events would not have happened had it not been for a “certain lady” from the Texas Employment Commission who spent a good deal of time informing me and recommending to me several job possibilities. Sitting beside her desk in that crowded and loud room, that lady was much more helpful to me than my college placement center. I expected her to just hand me a form to fill out for a part time job, but that woman acted as if my life was important to her. Heaven knows her life was important to me.

It’s apparent to me that where we are and who we are is determined by the sum total of all the people we’ve come across in life. We’ve each been recipients of negative influence and positive, and we’ve each exerted both negative and positive influence on others. Even in doing nothing, our influence is felt. All of these happenings have made each of us different from one another. We each have become as “a certain man.”

    Several times in my life, I’ve been asked what I would change in my life if I could turn back time. (Cher even asked.) I always managed to think of several things. At the moment, I would be afraid to change things. I am certainly not who I intended to be. But, when I see the example of “a certain man” I truly think I’m who I’m meant to be.

All of this makes me feel so blessed for the people I’ve met and the things I’ve witnessed while arriving at this moment. --  If you ask me, it was a combination of the diet and the pain medication that led to all this. – Next time.


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