Friday, December 29, 2006

Different Age. Same Great God.

God never ceases to amaze me.

So a few weeks back I got a call from an older man named Bill who got my name and number from someone who worked the Walk to Emmaus weekend that I attended in October. (Just FYI in case you haven’t been following my Blog, the Walk to Emmaus was a three-day spiritual retreat that I attended back in October)

Bill attended the Walk in 1996 and he lives here in Atlanta. He is 67 years old, a former Marine who fought in Okinawa during WWII, and someone who only began his walk with Christ about ten years ago. He called because there are not that many people who have been on the Walk who actually live in Atlanta and he wanted to introduce himself and see if we could meet and chat about what God is up to in our lives.

Pretty cool I thought because one of my main prayers each day is that God will give me opportunities to be involved in the lives of others and this seemed like an obvious answer to that prayer.

Anyway, we met for dinner last week before Christmas and it was too interesting of an experience not to Blog about. After I very briefly shared with him how I got to where I am today I just sat back and listened to him tell his story. I did a little talking and a lot of listening. One of the things I have not had enough of is time spent with an older person who is a Christian. Most of the people that I share my faith with have tended to be people in my age range. It was very refreshing to chat with someone who is around 36 years older than me. And even though Bill has only been seriously pursuing God for ten years he had some great wisdom and just a lot of life experiences.

I felt this whole “respect my elders” vibe and I just wanted to listen to him and try to learn something. One of the biggest things that moved me was that he was very emotional about what God had done/is doing in his life. Honestly, there were at least four times during dinner when he began to cry. It was a very surreal experience for me. I couldn’t ever remember a time when I had been out at a restaurant with a significantly older person who was crying.

During my conversation with Bill I also became very thankful and grateful of the fact that I began my walk with Christ when I did. I am glad I was 27 instead of 57. Yeah, I know it probably could have been 17 but still. Our chat also reminded me that it is never too late to turn to God. And although I didn’t really feel comfortable asking him deep questions about regret and lost time in his life I could tell that he wishes he could turn back some time. Who doesn’t wish that when the whole relationship with God thing kicks in? I often wonder what the last ten years of my life would have looked like if my faith had been strong enough to handle being a freshman sitting in a dorm room at UGA.

I guess what I really liked about my time with Bill was that I made a potential new friend. And I don’t have too many friends above the age of 60 I might add.

I hope someone considers it a cool thing to have me as a friend when I am 60 years old.

And I hope McDonald’s still has that senior discount on coffee.

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