Monday, April 3, 2017
My first wife passed away with cancer. I took her passing hard - real hard. I was in my late 20's, loved her and wondered how was I going to raise our three sons alone. At that time, I was not born again so I did not know the Lord, like I do now.
My wife was the one that influenced us to go to church. She told me if I didn't go, the boys wouldn't when they got older. I had to set an example - so I went to church. At first, after her passing, I didn't go to church, but I remembered what she said, so eventually I went back to church.
At the one church we went to, I spoke with the minister, telling him how hard it was raising the boys alone. He said to turn to the Lord. I couldn't understand, at that time, I went to church, that's turning to the Lord. But, as I look back, as much as he spoke, I didn't get it. I didn't understand. One day, he looked at me and said: "Some day, you will be a minister". I said never. You will see he said.
My parents move from up north back to Florida, so they could live near me and help me raise the children - especially when I was working on trains. I looked into other jobs, and tried other jobs, but nothing seemed to fit but this one. I enjoyed my work, which few people can say. Oh, like on any job, there are bad times, but to me, I really enjoyed the job and look forward going to every day.
I would be gone for weeks at a time and my parents would have my sons. Both of my parents were born again Christians. So were by brothers and sisters, but not me. So when the boys were at my parents, they went to church, and every evening my Dad would have a Bible reading and prayer before they went to bed. They also prayed that I would see the Lord.
Finally, I was put on a train run to train to replace the Porter that was on there. He was retiring and I was to work with him a few weeks so I knew everything about the run, the train and the people. I would be gone more days, but with three sons growing up, I knew that college would be coming for them and I had to take make more money to start a college fund.
The man was really nice. We were both Afro-American, had a lot in common and he had been widowed several years before, as I had been. One night I got a call from my parents that one of my sons had gotten into trouble. Usually my parents handled the situataion and told me about it when I got home. This time, it seems, my son had been arrested for stealing a car and job riding in it. Being on the train, there was nothing I could do about it. My parents, had hired a lawyer.
So I felt I was at my deepest down that night, so I went to talk to the other Porter. He started telling me about the Lord. I said my son is in jail and you are talking about the Lord. He asked me if I wasn't tired of raising my boys alone. I said my parents were helping. He said, but when everything is said and done, the good and the bad of my son's falls on me. Wouldn't I like them to fall on someone else? I started crying and he put his arm around me and led me to the Lord. It was like a load off of me. I felt it lift, when I said the prayer.
The Porter gave me a bible and I started reading it. I had never read one before. I went to church, but I didn't read the bible. Over the years, I have had to get new bibles because I worn the others out, but I still have the bible that Porter gave me.
I got home in time to go to court with my son. The judge gave him probation and if he stayed out of trouble until he was 18, it would go off of his records. Most boys don't get that for stealing cars now or back then.
Finally, I told my parents, that now I understood what they were talking about the Lord. I started taking correspondence courses to better understand the Bible and several years later, I became an Ordained Minister. I don't have a church, but I do fill in for some ministers when I am home if they are ill, on vacation, etc. But mostly, I am able to talk to people about the Lord, better.
Slowly, my son's came to the Lord. One became a Minister and is Pastor of a church. None got in any trouble. All three graduated from college, moved out and started their own family. Now, I was alone.
I had dated and gone out with ladies, came close to marrying one, but it didn't work out. Asked the Lord if there wasn't someone for me? My friends would come up with ladies, they thought were perfect for me, but that didn't work out. Joined the singles club at church, went out with several ladies, became good friends, but none were for marrying me.
After over twenty years of being single, I thought maybe that's what the Lord wanted me to be so I accepted it and went on with life. One day, I went to the hospital to visit an ill friend. I asked one of the nurses for direction, she told me and as I was leaving she said your the minister that filled in for ours when he was on vacation. I asked her what church and she was right.
After that we ran into each other several times - the grocery store, restaurant, church, and more. I was sure if she was married or not, so in one of our conversations I mentioned that I was widowed. So was she. Later in the conversation, I asked her out. She knew the Lord and we just seem to have the best times together. At the end of every date, we would say a prayer that the Lord would watch over us and our families as we went our separate ways.
Finally, after going together for two years, I asked her to marry me. She had to think because of my working and being gone so much. We prayed together and alone. She agreed and we married. My son who is a minister married us. He also was the child that had stolen the car. God can change people.
I went on so long here. I am sorry. Michael wants me to do another one sometime about being Porter on the train, but I'm not so sure you folks will want me after this long post.
Trust in the Lord,