Look For Lone­li­ness All Around And Be A Bless­ing To Oth­ers

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - CHURCH - Troy Con­rad

When God is go­ing to do a won­der­ful thing, He be­gins with a dif­fi­culty. When He is go­ing to do a VERY won­der­ful thing, He be­gins with an im­pos­si­bil­ity!

“For noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble with

God.” Luke 1:37 I spent a day in jail once. (Man, talk about a con­ver­sa­tion starter for a preacher!)

Now be­fore the ru­mors start, it was a vol­un­tary thing. I was do­ing re­search for a story and wanted to know what a real jail ex­pe­ri­ence was all about. Some po­lice friends in a small town in Ok­la­homa were more than happy to oblige my re­quest. (In fact they down­right cack­led when I asked them.)

We went up to the third story of the court­house. I had to put all my clothes in a plas­tic bag­gie and give it to the jailer. They gave me an or­ange jumpsuit to put on that was about three sizes too big and es­corted me to the last cell down a very long hall­way. The cells were pretty much empty ex­cept for a town drunk in the first one.

“We’ll be right down the hall­way when it gets to be too much for you,” my Jailer friend said with a laugh.

“I’ll be fine,” I told him with ma­cho bravado. “I’m good by my­self.” And with that the bars to the cell clanged shut and I could hear the echo of his foot- steps as he walked back to his desk.

I looked around the cell which was made of con­crete blocks and had no win­dows. There was a bare light bulb that il­lu­mi­nated it and a bunk that had a steel plate as a base. There were no sheets and no pil­low­cases. The pil­low was an old fash­ioned feather pil­low that was so old the feath­ers had turned to lumpy bits. The mat­tress was only two inches thick. I had no ra­dio, no book and no way to pass the time.

When I started with the re­quest, I thought I could maybe catch up on my sleep. Or maybe spend some time in soli­tude pray­ing to God. Thirty min­utes into it, I was ready to call it quits. When you’re alone, it’s hard to keep your­self amused. And when you’re alone, your thoughts start turn­ing dark.

I ques­tioned why I was do­ing this. “I’m a good guy,” I thought to my­self. “This is stuff only bad peo­ple have to deal with.”

I started to won­der how long I had been in the cell. They promised lunch, but it felt like I had been there for days. I paced. I did push-ups. I paced some more. I tried to take a nap and only ended up pac­ing some more.

Af­ter what seemed like an eternity, I heard foot­steps com­ing down the hall­way. I rushed to the bars and tried to poke my face through to see who was com­ing. I was ec­static! Some­one to talk to! I just knew they had for­got­ten about me and knew I had been in there for days. When my friend got close I said, “Thank God! I thought you had for­got­ten about me!”

He looked at me in a quizzi­cal way and said, “What do you mean, it’s only been two hours. I’m bring­ing you lunch.”

I looked at the peanut but­ter sand­wich and back at my friend and said, “I’ve had enough.”

They laughed and laughed and laughed. They took a po­laroid of me with the jailer and deputies, which to my knowl­edge still hangs be­hind the jailer’s desk. Un­der the pic­ture they wrote, “World record holder. Two hours, 43 min­utes.”

Ever since that day, I’ve come to fully un­der­stand just what lone­li­ness does to a per­son. It makes the world a dark place and squashes hopes and dreams and makes life im­pos­si­ble. Right now, there’s some­one you know who’s alone. Maybe they’re at a hos­pi­tal or a nurs­ing home. Maybe they’re your neigh­bor across the street or sit­ting in the booth at the restau­rant. Go and be a bless­ing to them be­cause God has blessed you and let them know through God’s love, all things are pos­si­ble. Let us pray. Our blessed Saviour. To­day we pray for all of your chil­dren who are alone and think that life is im­pos­si­ble. You give us faith, hope and love, and we pray that we may be able to show oth­ers that the great­est of th­ese is love. In Christ’s name. Amen. PAS­TOR TROY CON­RAD IS MIN­IS­TER OF THE FARM­ING­TON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. EMAIL: FARMINGTONCHURCH@ PGTC.COM.

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