Garry Lovette | Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Making friends is and has always been one of the most pleasurable things in life to me. Whether the friend is someone I see on a regular basis, or someone that I only see every few years, they are all special to me. As someone who continues to be in a learning curve, I pride myself on learning new things and contemplating new ideas and new directions, many times coming from the imagination of a friend. As I get older, I don’t want to get so set in my ways, that I fail to glean even something seemingly small or insignificant. I’ve found over the years that sometimes the small things can be life-changing!
get alone in the presence of God. Oh, I know, we’re all busy, and sometimes we just don’t feel like we have the time or the fortitude to do it, but do it anyway.
This week, I was privileged to attend a convention in my home state of Alabama. There not only was I blessed to make new friends, but so excited to see many old friends. As numerous old friends just kept coming up to me and shaking my hand or hugging my neck, I realized just how rich I was to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of people. Many of these wonderful friends have given their lives to the service of others. Some of them have spent over 70 years being the hands and feet of Jesus.
My best visit happened after the convention was over. Standing in the back of the room was a man that I hadn’t seen in years. His hair had grayed, but it did little to change his appearance. To me this man represents what a true man of God is supposed to be. As I hugged him tightly, I was so privileged to share something with him he had said to me close to 40 years ago. This wonderful man had shared that every morning, before he went faithfully to work to support his family, he would go out into the woods behind his home and kneel at an old tree stump. That old tree stump had become his altar. It is where he could get real with God, and where God could speak to him.
As I shared that memory with him, we both began to weep. It wasn’t a sad memory at all, but one of the most life-changing things anyone had ever shared with me. The memory my friend Jimmy shared all those years ago had impacted my life in a enormous way. My humble friend had no idea how much his words had changed me, until today. I still cry when I think of it.
We may think sometimes that what we do or say doesn’t make a difference at all, but you are so wrong to assume that. People are listening and many times they just don’t know how to respond to what you’ve said. In my case, I usually don’t say anything, as I am trying to “digest” what has been shared with me.
Because Jimmy was so willing to be transparent and share his daily routine with me, I also learned to find an old tree stump. Living in town, there are no tree stumps for me to kneel at and get closer to God, so my old tree stump is a cedar chest tucked away in my closet. I love to go into that closet, close the door, and have a good conversation with Jesus.
Let me encourage you to daily find the time to get alone in the presence of God. Oh, I know, we’re all busy, and sometimes we just don’t feel like we have the time or the fortitude to do it, but do it anyway. It will change your day, and eventually will become something that you feel compelled to do.
We all have a bucket list, whether written down or just in our heads. There are many things we plan to do but just never seem to get around to doing. On my bucket list, before I leave this old world, I plan to have a place where I can have a real tree stump for an altar. I plan to pour out my heart there, and to lift up my praises to the God who has been so good to me!