Category Archives: Friendship

Hug Him, Please.

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Oh, this is a sad day…

So many memories. He made me laugh and cry and praise my Lord all in the space of a couple minutes of visiting. I enjoyed Big Lang on a daily basis. Some days were better than others, but each encounter was memorable.

It was new for both of us. He’d never known a “you-so-white-suburban-child” and I’d never trusted a past convict with my life.  He let me know I could call him night or day and he’d be there to help.  He’s the one who told me I was “livin’ in the ‘hood.”  No, not South Dallas, but the ‘hood, nonetheless.  He learned that some people had never stepped foot in a liquor store (that would’ve been me) and I learned that some people had never known safety, or freedom from fear.

Goodness.
Now,

He’s gone.

And, he left without me knowing…

I saw him last Thanksgiving, but I’d moved away from the complex. We didn’t see one another on a regular basis. Today, I saw on Facebook that the movie in which he has a role is coming out this summer, “Seasons of Gray.” I went to my site to read about him, and then clicked on his site to see if he’d posted anything new.

“Roderick Lang passed away on Friday, December 14th, 2012…”

It had only been three weeks since I’d seen him. Oh, how I wish I’d called him back the last time I saw his number in my missed calls list. It wasn’t a good day for me. It might not have been a good day for him . . . Oh, please, dear Lord, don’t let that be the day!

He taught me so much in the short space of time I knew him. He struggled, day in and day out, with his past. But, he knew his God and had enormous faith in the promise of new life in Jesus. On his worst days I wouldn’t see him . . .  but most days he was outside, three doors down, sitting on his back patio. And oh, so happy to get to visit for a few minutes! He’d share a funny memory, a joke, or a tall tale just to hear me laugh. He said I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and he just wanted to help lift it a bit.  He had no fear of letting me know my dog looked like she was on drugs and needed a good grooming!  He’d come to the back door, knock, and ask me to join him for coffee on the patio.  Oh, so many memories…

Oh, Jesus.

Thank you.

Thank you for letting me meet Rod.

Thank you for letting him be my friend.

Please, hug him for me.

A huge bear hug.  He’s such a big man…

Please…

Big Lang
Roderick Earl Lang
Rod

Thank you, Jesus, for letting him rest in Your peace.
For eternity.

Big Lang on the set

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My Friend, Big Lang

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Big Lang was one of the first neighbors I met after moving.  He often sits on the steps across from my parking spot.  We smiled, waved, and eventually, talked.  Our first conversation delved into race relations in Dallas, alongwith childhood experiences, and the movie, “The Help.”  It spoke of our different lifestyles growing up on opposite sides of this huge metroplex we both call Home.

I’m really glad God put Big Lang in my path.

I found out what kind of heart he has when the holidays rolled around.  I don’t know if a day passed that he didn’t have someone he was helping out…me included.  And if he knew of someone who needed help, yet, he was unable to meet the need, he’d call on others to see what we could do.  The day he showed me his apartment filled with frozen chickens to pass around, I knew I had found a friend for life.  For, you see, he had a hundred chickens to pass out and walking is not something he can do easily.  He is disabled.  Like me…

Big Lang (yes, he is well over 6’6″!  I barely reach 5’…) has been through hell and back many times.  No, we don’t have the same disability, but we both know the struggles of life.  Of course, when I hear his story, I don’t know if I can call my life a struggle.  Gracious, what some people have to endure…

He speaks freely of his trials and the faith he has in Jesus.  His words of encouragement always hit the spot.  I find wisdom beyond understanding when he shares pieces of his life story.  He has lived the hardest of lives and yet, he has an enduring trust in God.  It doesn’t always make sense to me how someone with such a background (the hardest, remember) can speak so faithfully of God.  He has no tinge of bitterness.  He doesn’t bemoan the hard knocks he’s endured.  (And even the term ‘hard knocks’ is so benign for what he has lived!)  The only way I can understand his attitude is from the scriptures…

He has a peace that passes understanding.
He has joy in the LORD, not his circumstances.
He knows it is much more of a blessing to give than to receive.

Big Lang has become a model of Christianity I hope to emulate.

What a man…
I’m blessed to call him friend.

Would you like to contact Big Lang or read more about his life? Go to:
Changed Life Ministry

 

Feeling Safe

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Dedicated to my brother on his birthday:

Oh, the comfort —
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words — but pouring them
All right out — just as they are —
Chaff and grain together —
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them —
Keep what is worth keeping —
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

~Dinah Craik

In context from her novel, A Life for a Life:

Thus ended our little talk: yet it left a pleasant impression. True, the subject was strange enough; my sisters might have been shocked at it; and at my freedom in asking and giving opinions. But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Somebody must have done a good deal of the winnowing business this afternoon; for in the course of it I gave him as much nonsense as any reasonable man could stand …

Happy Birthday, Brother Burton! 

 I love you.

Celebrate Recovery

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God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

“…accepting hardships as a pathway to peace…”

It truly does work that way. In time, through the struggles, we begin to see our fears and anxieties won’t help matters. Then we can choose the way He’s ordained…prayer which leads to peace that passes understanding.

Hmmm…so we can do something about the fear.

We can “cast all our cares on Him” and let His perfect Love combat our fears.

Accepting hardship…not rising up against it, but realizing the struggles are what bring us to our knees.

Reminds me of  another U2 song:

Unos dos tres catorce!

Lights go down, it’s dark
The jungle is your head
Can’t rule your heart
A feeling is so much stronger than
A thought
Your eyes are wide
And though your soul
It can’t be bought
Your mind can wander

Hello hello
I’m at a place called Vertigo
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
Except You give me something I can feel, feel

The night is full of holes
As bullets rip the sky
Of ink with gold
They twinkle as the
Boys play rock and roll
They know they can’t dance
At least they know.

I can’t stand the beats
I’m asking for the cheque
The girl with crimson nails
Has Jesus round her neck
Swinging to the music
Swinging to the music
Oh oh oh oh

Hello hello
I’m at a place called Vertigo
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
But You give me something I can feel, feel

Check mated
Oh yeah
Hours of fun

All of this, all of this can be yours
All of this, all of this can be yours
All of this, all of this can be yours
Just give me what I want and no-one gets hurt.

Hello hello
We’re at a place called Vertigo
Lights go down and all I know
Is that You give me something

I can feel Your Love teaching me how
Your Love is teaching me how, how to kneel, kneel

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

Day-Light Savings Time

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Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.
~Charles Caleb Colton

You’ve heard it said: Time is fleeting.

I’m fairly sure it’s my age, mid-life crisis, menopause…whatever…but I’m feeling the passing of time much quicker these days. 

We’re in the birthday season at our house.  My youngest just turned fourteen, the middle one is now seventeen and the oldest will be twenty soon.  MAN!!  I don’t know where the time went?

In my mind’s eye they are all stuck at four, seven and ten.  Those were fun, active years.  Lots of running around exploring new things, meeting new people, and learning new words.  Words like…friendship.

Nicky lived across the street.  He was the same age as Kellen, my middle guy.  At seven they had a love/hate relationship.  Some days they were the best of friends.  Many mornings we would see Nicky sitting on the curb, staring at the front door, waiting for Kellen to come out and play.  He would let us know he’d been waiting for hours and “why did I let Kellen sleep so late?” 

Usually their days began in peace.  But some days, and I’m not sure why — testosterone surges (?) — they would fight about everything.  It didn’t matter what the cause, they could get into some vicious wrangles before I knew what had happened.  All of the sudden I’d hear Kellen coming in the door, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Look what Nicky did to me!!!”

Of course, this would lead mothers to conference.  Both being school teachers, we were used to this type of occurrence and understood “boys will be boys.”  We would work them through reconciliation and off they’d run, two happy go-lucky kids, once again.

I miss those days. 
I miss that Time when disagreements could be reconciled in an afternoon. 
I miss the simpler struggles.

I do know we all have been given these days for a purpose. And, being a Christian, I believe the purpose is wrapped up in God’s wisdom…God’s ways…God’s sovereignty.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. ~Ecclesiastes. 3:1

And we’ve been given some words of warning for how we are to redeem the time we’re given:

Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. ~Ephesians 5:16

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. ~Colossians 4:5

I want to be effective. I want to create the change I long to see. I want to be used of God to make a difference. Yet, before I know it, Time has passed and I’m still not where I want to be.  (Did I just quote MLKing and Bono in the same paragraph?)

In my wanderings and my wonderings, I imagine God is using The Time He’s given. And even though I can’t get my mind around all of the seemingly “wasted” time, what if those are the moments He’s redeeming? For His glory? What if He’s working His will when I cannot even imagine that good is happening? What if He’s working to reconcile all things to Himself…as His Word teaches.

And all these things are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. ~2 Corinthians 5:18

How are you using the time He’s given?
What are you doing with your days?
Are you making the most of your God-given opportunities?

Or are you in a place of wondering, praying He’ll redeem The Time,…

…hoping He’ll give you more,…for His glory?

Bearing Burdens

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I haven’t been to church in quite a few weeks.  I really hate that about my life.

The family goes, just not me.  Remember Norman Rockwell’s painting, “Sunday Morning,” with the family filing out while the father sits and  reads the paper?  Well, I don’t read the paper (the ink smell makes me sick) and I’m not the father, but I do stay home from church and watch the news.  *sigh*

Most Sundays I’ll listen to a television pastor or go worship at Darla’s blog.  (You are a blessing to me, Princess!!!)  But today I talked on the phone.

Yes, I did.  And I don’t even feel guilty about it.  I was in an emotional upheaval about changes in our life.  So I called a friend.  After an hour or so of conversation, I was much more relaxed.  I was reminded of His plans for us.  My friend let me know change is good.  It brings new perspective…new possibilities.

Really nothing new to that thinking.  I know this about life…I just needed to be reminded. 

Bearing one another’s burdens…carrying eachother through the rough  times…

Friendship is a really good thing.

Give Thanks

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Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now let the weak say I am strong,
Let the poor say I am rich,
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
Give thanks.

It’s a simple chorus but it speaks of all that is important.  We have been given all we need for this life in Christ Jesus.  Though we may be weak in the world’s eyes, we are strong in heaven’s eyes.  Though we may be poor in the world’s eyes, we are rich in heaven’s eyes. 

I must remind myself daily: I can do this thing called life.  I have The Life in me.  I’m not living my own life.  I am to be living His.

I am The Way, The Truth, The Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.  ~John 14:16

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.  ~Galatians 3:26

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  ~Galatians 6:14

Although the things of this world may not be mine, what have I lost?  I have real life — The Life — in me.  Jesus gives me strength to make it through the day.  He gives me riches beyond any earthly treasure.  I can rejoice in Him.  I can be thankful, in everything, because of Him.

Always be joyful.
Keep on praying.
No matter what happens
, always be thankful,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Be joyful.  Be thankful.  Always.  Did you catch how this happens?  The verse in the middle.  Keep on praying.

Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything
by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
Let your requests be made known to God

And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I keep on praying, bringing everything to Him, I will have peace that passes understanding. His peace will guard my heart and my mind, if I am in Him.

It takes discipline to live this life He has called us to live. He has given us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness, but we must remain diligent to apply these truths to our lives. It’s not magical. It doesn’t just happen. We are told to pray.

Pray always.

Pray always, about everything.

Pray always, about everything, with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Then peace will come.

I’ve been searching for peace recently.  My heart has been anxious.  My mind has been racing.  But, you know what?  I have not been diligent to apply these truths.  I know I am in Him.  But this life I am to live in Him, still requires diligent discipline.

I think it’s time I get to work.

How about you?

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OH…and what am I thankful for this year?  Actually, many things, but most especially, my blog family.   You people have changed my world.  I’ve needed you and you’ve been there for me.  Thank you.