Friday, July 11, 2008

Yes, It Began Well In Advance Of Its Beginning ...

This is a love story beginning with before it began. Hello? How can something have a beginning before it begins? Read on …

Once upon a time, there was a young man who decided to leave home and go forth to seek his fortune. And so he joined the army. The young man’s parents loved him dearly. They always wanted only the best things in life for him. They considered “best things” to include living a life of integrity with a strong faith in God.

As the young man was preparing to depart, his mother gave him some advice. She said, “Always attend a good strong church and if ever you find yourself lonely and bored, don’t go looking in the wrong places to find companionship. Don’t go to the bars looking for a few hours of excitement. Instead, find a library and read a good book or listen to music in their record room.” She added, “I’ll pray for you everyday.”

So off to the army went the young man. He was appreciative of his mother’s admonitions but also a little amused. He thought to himself, “Mama is so much like a mother. But I am glad she cares.”

The young soldier ended up in a foreign land where he knew no one. He did not understand the language of the people. He knew that he needed to grow up fast.

One day he happened to pass near a church building. He noticed that the sign out front was in English. The following Sunday, he attended services at that small church. The young man wanted his mother to know that he had found a church to attend. He stood in front of the building and asked one of the church members to take his picture. He sent the picture to his mother. A copy of that photograph accompanies this column.

But there is more to that photo than meets the eye. Look carefully. There is the young soldier posing in front of the church sign. Also there is a young lady passing behind him as the photo is snapped. She is entering the church building completely unaware of the posing soldier and he is totally unaware of her. Now, here is the neat thing. Three years later, the young soldier married that young lady.

Actually they did not meet at church. This transpired a few weeks later in a library at Fort Clayton, Panama Canal Zone. How so? It was a Friday evening and all of the young man’s buddies went barhopping in town. He wanted to go with them but his mother’s voice kept saying, “Go to a library and read a book or listen to music in their record room.”

So the young man went to the Fort Clayton library. He browsed through the books looking for something of interest. Then he saw her. The young lady from church. She sat at a table working on homework for school. He approached her and asked, “Can you solve algebra equations and drink a Coke at the same time?” She smiled and he sat down.

Many would think this might be the beginning of the love story. Others would think that the photograph in front of the church building marked the beginning. But I know that this story began long before the library meeting or the day of the photo. This story began with the prayers of a mother for her son as he left home to seek his fortune.

The young man and the young lady just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary and they know that with their strong faith in God, they will live happily ever after.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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