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If you have seen the movie Braveheart, you know of the scene where
young William’s father is brought home to him, on a cart, dead. You may also
recall that, after the funeral, an imposing, battle-scarred man
arrives unlooked for. This is William’s uncle Argyle. And his
frightening visage is grace’s unexpected face.

Of all the things he does for William, the most powerful is to,
despite his heavy loss, let him know that he is not alone in his suffering.

Grace once came to me like that–unexpected, unlooked for. Only his
face was not that of a battle-scarred Argyle, but that of my stoner
friend, Pat. His wounds, the ones I could see, were the battle scars of adolescence:
he bore the telltale pockmarks of acne.

Pat was a husky, olive-skinned Italian. And oregano was not the only
herb he was fond of. We were the same age, had brothers around the
same age, and were fast friends from about 1978 until high school.

Then our paths diverged, and he got into drugs. Somehow, God knows, I never
got into pot. I smoked–cigarettes, cigars–chewed tobacco, drank. But
somehow drew the line there. I don’t know why. Certainly I was wounded
enough to make drugs an alluring escape. All I can surmise is that it
must have been the grace of God protecting me (even before I believed
in Him).

So Pat cycled in, and out, of my life throughout the high school
years. Our biggest falling out had to do with something said in passing about my aunt. I didn’t see him for sometime. And one day, he dropped by unexpectedly. We had shared some in
our appreciation of the feminine form, swapped magazines.

In fact, it was about magazines that he’d come by. Thinking that he
wanted to borrow some of my goods, we went to my room.

“Dude, aren’t you sick of this?” he asked.

“What?”

“The porn, man, the porn.”

I took deep breath, exhaled, took another. Realized I was.

“Yeah, man, I am.”

“Let’s trash it, dude.” It took a moment to register what he’d said. I swallowed, took a deep breath, and said:

“Okay.” So that’s just what we did: took down the centerfolds, gathered the
magazines, trashed them all.

I felt so free, so gloriously free. Here was Pat, the stoner I
couldn’t get to give up weed, calling me out about my porn, recognizing my addiction (but not his own. And isn’t that the truth? We so often lack necessary perspective about ourselves). Looking
back, I realize it was God moving, perhaps getting my house in order: less than a year later I would bow
the knee to Christ, make my faltering profession of allegiance in a speeding car.

————-

After that day, I never saw Pat again–until his brother’s funeral.

Grace often comes like that–wearing a face we don’t recognize. Look
for it, and you will see. And how I wish that was the end of my
involvement with pornography (oh, it was–for awhile).

How has grace come to you unexpectedly?

Grumpy McGrumperson

randomlychad  —  November 1, 2011 — 10 Comments

'The Grumpiest Cat Alive' photo (c) 2004, Jonathan Keelty - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Today, I woke after about six hours of sleep–sleep that, due to apnea, is not always refreshing.

Today, I woke up with a stiff neck, a headache, and a grumpy disposition. Owing to the fact that I didn’t sleep so well, I guess.

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'Pacifier anyone?' photo (c) 2011, Philipp Antar - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

After reading Ricky’s post–“One Paci to Rule Them All”–yesterday, I was reminded of my own children, and their interest (or lack thereof) in their own respective pacifiers.

Thus, I give you “Paci Throwdown:”

When my son was one, he threw his paci down
Mom, not being ready, retrieved it with a frown

She popped it back in, and to her chagrin,

Back it went, down on the ground,

For five full minutes this went on,

Out! It popped, back in it went,
Until mother and child, both were spent,

But mom would not relent,

And in the end, she won:
Forcing that paci back on our son

And to my chagrin, you see,
He kept it til he was three

Would that were the end of the story:
My daughter, nary a paci will she use,
When asked, she has refused,
A thumb sucker, in all her glory

—————-

You can catch Ricky on his blog, Ricky Anderson Dot Net, or follow him on Twitter @Arthur2Sheds (though I’m told he only has one shed)

'Rear of the Walking Dead Truck' photo (c) 2011, Ewen Roberts - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Last week, I somehow managed to watch the entire first season of The Walking Dead. It’s a taut, creepy thriller that features regular folks caught up in much larger-than-life circumstances. And yet, most of them find a way to hold onto hope in an insane world.

This is due in large part to the leadership of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. Though he’s not without his faults, he’s a natural leader, and folks–despite some grumbling–naturally follow. Though he’s not a man of faith, he’s a man of vision, and that vision is rooted in a moral core.

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Today’s hilarious guest post comes from my friend, Larry Carter. You know–John (“of Mars”) Carter’s funny brother. <--Don't actually know if he has a brother named John. Anyway, Larry is loved by multitudes, is a husband, and father, and claims this is the most ridiculous thing he's ever written. Take it away, Larry: I have a lot of conversations with myself. A lot of them end with bacon. For example: “T.G.I.F.” <--This is either a restaurant, or it: “Sounds like the intro to a Katy Perry song.” [What? You mean like "E.T.," (pronounced "et") right? "Heart attack victim, fill me with some bacon"] And... You listen to Katy Perry? I thought you were a Christian? Uh, I did when she was Katy Hudson. “I wonder how Katy Perry made the transition from Katy Hudson, Christian singer, and morphed into Katy Perry, girl-kissing, pop-singing wife of Russell Brand?” [My guess? Not enough fatty, protein-rich bacon in her diet] Isn't that what happened to Amy Grant? No, she married Vince Gil--not Russell Brand. “No, I mean Amy Grant sang Christian music and crossed over to pop.” Oh, yeah, "Baby, Baby," right? “Yeah, but she had that song with Peter Cetera.” “All I Need To Know.” No, that was Aaron Nevill and Linda Ronstadt. Stay on task with me, please. Amy and Peter had "Next Time I Fall In Love." [Ed. note: Amy did sing "House of Love" with Vince Gill--while still married to Gary. We know how that turned out. Also, the next time I fall in love, it will be with bacon!] Peter Cetera was in Chicago, right? 25 or 6 to 4!!!! “I thought Richard Gere was in Chicago.” That was a musical, not the pop group. “Richard Gere was also in "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts.” I thought he was in "An Officer and A Gentleman" with Debra Winger? He was, but you're getting off task again. Stick with me. He was in "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts. Julia Roberts was also in "Mystic Pizza," right? "Yeah, but not what I'm looking for---though I'll bet her pizzas had bacon on them." Ok, Alex, give me another Julia Roberts movie, please, for 1000. Erin Brockovich? [Best line in that film? "They're called boobs, Ed."] Ocean's Eleven? No. Try again. “Oh yeah. Julia Roberts was in "Flatliners" with Kiefer Sutherland.” Yes!!! But guess who else was in that movie? No!!! Not him. Really? Yes, no denying it. Kevin Bacon? Yep. “Kevin Bacon makes me think of bacon.” [Which makes me think of the recently remade "Footloose. Did Kevin get cameo? No? If it tanks at the box office, we know why: Decided lack of Bacon] “Since it’s Friday, I’ll stop at T.G.I Friday's on the way home from work to get a BLT. Hope Jan doesn't notice I'm not hungry." “Sounds like a plan.” And that, my friends, is how all roads lead to bacon. And bacon makes me happy. How many steps does it take you to get to bacon?

Larry Carter lives in “Dunn Holler,” somewhere outside of Knoxville, TN. He blogs most days at Deuceology, and can be followed on Twitter @LarryTheDeuce. Roll tide, Larry, roll tide! 😉