Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The same day, a changed life

I had to consider my circumstances.  Here I was in a city where no one else even knew I was there and certainly, there was no one to help.  I asked for help.  I prayed.  And now I recalled seeing a "labor" office as the bus turned towards the depot.  It was early.  They might have job for me.  There were only two other guys sitting there, waiting.  I glanced at my watch.  It was 10:30AM.  I took a seat and waited.  Lunch time came and went.  Now, it was 2:00PM.  The phone rang.  "Hey you," as the dispatcher looked in my direction, "Are you good at Math?"  "I am a college graduate".  "I didn't ask you about your education, I asked if you were good at Math."  "Yes, sir!"  "Grab your jacket and let's go."  Welcome to a world I once thought that I ruled.

The customer was taking inventory.  He needed someone who could count, accurately.  With a clip board in hand, I headed for the first aisle where the shelves were located.  I was through the first two aisles when I realized, he was following me, double-checking my count.  "Let's take a break," he said to me and we headed for the lunch room.  "You made my day.  I followed you and you were counting accurately and that is exactly what I needed.  Thank you."  He went on to explain that he had to take inventory in this warehouse, the one across the street and others a few blocks away.  It needed to be done by the end of next week.

When it was time for dinner, he brought me a box of KFC chicken and asked if I get to work by 7AM the next day.  "Yes, sir!"  And so it went until Friday afternoon when he signed my job ticket and it showed that I had worked 50 hours that week.  "We're done.  You did great.  If I ever need anyone else from that agency, I'll ask for you, if that's OK with you?"  I assured him that it was and then he opened his wallet and handed mt $50.00, telling me he thought I had saved his job.

I had been staying in an old hotel, but I had heard that the YMCA had better rooms at less cost and so I headed there as soon as I left the job.  I paid them for the night and let the clerk know I would be back the next day to pay for a week.  It was great having a shower that worked and getting into a change of clothes I had bought after leaving work.  The next day, I went to the labor office to cash my ticket and learn that they had another job for me, starting the next week.

On the way back to the "Y" I noticed a cocktail lounge and decided it would be nice to have a beer after working all week.  I tried the door.  It would not open.  Strange?  It sounded like there were voices inside.  I tried again.  It still would not open.  As I walked away, there were two couples headed in that direction so I let them know, the place was closed.  They ignored me, walked past me and had no problem opening the door.  "Welcome to a new world, Sherwood."

I walked on and discovered the public library was across the street from the "Y".  I went in and began to realize, this would be a perfect place to search for a new. more permanent job.  I planned to see if it would be possible and contact California when I heard about my wife's future - in prison.  Then, I assumed, I would bring the kids to Tulsa and create a future for all of us.

My first interest was to catch a bus out to the ORU campus and enjoyed walking around until I found their book store was open for business.  I was looking for a book to help me study the Bible when I noticed a jewelry case and, in particular, a number of lapel pins.  I found one I liked, bought it and as I was taking it off the card, I noticed a scripture verse - Acts 1:8.  ..."you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses.... even to the remotest part of the earth."   For some reason, I was fascinated by these words and I hurried back to the "Y" to read more about this verse.  I think that, apart from Sunday services, I spent the entire weekend trying to absorb 
all that I was reading.  I had found a new love.

Sunday, I discovered a new church home.  There were two large Methodist churches in downtown Tulsa.  I had called both to see about Sunday services.  The first call was answered by a machine that gave me the time of the services.  The other was answered by a young lady who responded to all of the questions I had and suggested, I might enjoy meeting with the "singles" for Sunday School.  That would have to wait on another day, but I was sitting in a pew for 11AM Sunday morning program.  

In retrospect, I was more than just eager, I could not get enough of what I had been reading, not understanding all of it, but eager to learn what it all meant

That evening, I went back to church and listened eagerly to everything I was hearing from the pulpit, but I was also intrigued by a group of singers.  One of their songs caught my attention and after the services, I noticed one of the older fellows in the group standing alone.  I went over to him and asked, "You were singing that song, 'It gets sweeter and sweeter as the days goes by, oh, what a love between my Lord and I' and I have to ask, is that true in your life?  He looked at me, reached out and took my hand and looking me square in the eye, replied, "That's just the half of it."  Wow!

What a day!  What a week!  I had never ever really said prayers at bedtime, but that night I was so excited I hardly knew what to say, but I have a feeling I rambled on and and on....

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