Monday, May 30, 2005

more charlie

I don't know if any of the rest of you do this, but I seem to compose most of my blog posts in the early, pre-awake hours of the morning. The near fully-composed post materializes sometime in the night. It floats above my head, waits patiently for me to get into that almost-awake state, and then makes its presence known. I don't know if it slaps me across the head or whispers tenderly in my ear, I only know that at some point, my eyes spring open, I reach out and snatch that ready-to-go idea, and fly to my laptop, where I try my best to convey what I heard.

That's what happened this morning. I awoke knowing I wasn't finished yet with Charlie; knowing I had at least one more Charlie story to share. And this one is my favorite.

Charlie didn't meet Jesus until he was an adult, and in those BC years, he did a lot of hard living. He never went into details with us, but it wasn't necessary. (If you ask me, all the "before Christ" years are hard, on some level.) But he started talking one day about a particular friend he'd had during his really wild years. Apparently, they'd had some sort of falling out and parted as enemies. Charlie was quick to say that the final insult belonged to him. He'd done something to this friend that caused him great shame once his conscience woke up. In fact, once God got a hold of Charlie and began to lovingly peel away those calloused layers, Charlie was pretty much horrified at what he'd done to his friend. It became a source of torment to him. Both he and the friend had lived in Seattle during that time, but twenty years had passed, and though he'd tried, Charlie hadn't been able to track the man down. "Jesus," he'd pray, "I don't know where my old friend is and I have no way to find him, but I need his forgiveness."

After a while, Charlie had no other choice but to hand the hurt over to God. He felt completely helpless to fix the offense. But every so often, something would remind him and he'd have to pray again, "Please forgive me."

Some months after this old transgression began to bother Charlie, he flew from Seattle to New York to visit some old friends. During the trip, he noticed a flyer for an outdoor Christian concert and decided to go. The music was loud and Charlie had a great time all by himself dancing up front near the band (once a Woodstock guy, always a Woodstock guy, you know?), and when it was over, he walked around the back of the stage to leave. Just as he was rounding the back corner of the stage, he happened to look up and notice one of the roadies rolling up an electrical cord.

The guy turned his face toward Charlie ... and Charlie found his friend.

Despite the wound, despite twenty years of separation, Charlie and his friend/enemy embraced--long and hard. And when Charlie could speak, the first words he said were, "I hurt you ... and I'm so sorry. Will you forgive me for what I did all those years ago?"

When the man smiled and shook his head, the enemy dissipated. "Charlie, I'm a Christian now. I forgave you a long time ago."

When I think about this story, a dozen lessons come to mind. I think about what a miracle it is when Jesus tenderizes a grizzled heart. I think about what a wild adventure it is to be a Christian. And I think about the power of forgiveness. But the bottom line here is really this: God took two enemies and turned them into brothers. And then, because He loves to surprise His children, He arranged a little family reunion.

How can you not love a God like that?

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10 Comment:

At 5/30/2005 7:51 AM, Anonymous Joe Cool - Cowboy Poet had this to say ...

We are all a bit of Charlie aren't we? It's only when we hand over that hurt and anger to God that we can become close to being whole. It was the same just two weeks ago when I went and spoke to Him about all the pain I was in. Once I handed it over to Him my heart felt so much better. And within minutes He showed me that there is always Love there for me. Thank you for sharing Charlie with us.

BTW, my posts come to me just as I am falling asleep, then I have to get up and post them usually between 11:30 and midnight.

At 5/30/2005 2:51 PM, Blogger thequeen had this to say ...

This post has me in tears, I love that god arranges these meetings for us. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, it really really is.

I am right there with you on the posts thing, always in the middle of the night, just before falling completely asleep, I can't make myself get up though half the time so I forget. I have lost some great entries that way;)

At 5/30/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger *~Tey~* had this to say ...

Hi Shannon

Thank you for commenting on my blog. it was very encouraging. And you explained it to me in a good way. You're not moming me, because I like to get advice. It's something I lack from my own friends and I never talk to my parents about this stuff because they ground me from things and I feel condemmed.

Thanks again.

At 5/31/2005 4:55 AM, Anonymous joe cool - cowboy poet had this to say ...

Hi again. It's early, couldn't sleep, been up since 3:30 am talking to Him. Not the same as my day two weeks ago, but still, I had to say thank you to Him for the love.

I went and visited Kristy as well, you have such beautiful in spirit and soul visitors. Glad she found you and you her. Sounds like it was needed.

At 5/31/2005 1:37 PM, Blogger JOE B had this to say ...

Note to self, never read Shannon's blog while at work. The guys look at me funny as I am telling them nothing is wrong, I just have something in my eye.

Shannon, another great story. Thanks for sharing.

At 5/31/2005 2:32 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Yes, Joe Cool--we are all a little bit Charlie. Most definitely.

Glad you liked it, Denise :)

Kristy, I'd love to talk with you more. You sure have a sweet spirit (as Joe noted :) and I know God has you right in His hand. The thing about your parents? They probably just get worried about you. Sometimes we react in an extreme manner when we worry. I'll pray about that for you. :)

Joe--you made my day. I love your tender heart. :)

At 5/31/2005 6:09 PM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Shannon, m'friend...I love this line====> "I think about what a miracle it is when Jesus tenderizes a grizzled heart." We all came from grizzled hearts, one way or another. (I have the perfect title for your next book. Email me!)

I'm heading south to visit my dad for a few days, and will miss your posts. Keep those stories coming. I suspect you're affecting more lives than you realize. God bless you - Bonnie

At 5/31/2005 7:53 PM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

Hi Shannon-your Charlie brings back so many memories of the Jesus hippies I knew back in my college days (early 70's). In many ways, they were the most genuine and loving Christians I have ever known...totally relying on God for everything. Not worrying, but praying, etc. My Charlie was named Ricky and I'm sorry to say we lost touch many years ago. I am going to get busy, find him and reconnect. Thanks for a very reflective post.

At 6/13/2005 6:39 AM, Anonymous OldGuy had this to say ...

Shannon, I love this story.

Coincidence ?

Not likely.

At 10/10/2005 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

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