Things progressed nicely after that, I was smitten with your Mother, and now she was smitten with me. I was care free in those days, thinking I had all the time in the world. We were falling in love, but now that we were dating, I wasn’t in any hurry. We were both in college, and we were both very busy.
Finally, a few months in to our courtship, my friend asked me two questions. “What are you waiting for?” The second was, “Will she still be there when you’re ready?” That friend was our, then young, Pastor R.L. Stillwell.
I had known him since childhood, and watched with shock, then admiration, and respect as he overcame his past. He was a little older than I was. His name was Roger Lawrence, but in his early teens they said it meant Reckless and Loud.
He was pretty wild. R.L. was already involved in some dangerous things, and had been for some time. This was routine for him, until he was seventeen. His parents were struggling themselves, and they didn’t seem overly concerned. Finally, one Monday at school, his Grandmother showed up. She had driven all night to see him. She came to his class and asked the teacher to allow him to leave.
We expected that he was in trouble again, that she was going to give him a good lecture. I figured we would hear about it the next day. He came to school the next day, but he didn’t want to talk about it. He seemed different. He was quiet, but at the same time, he looked like he was filled with an anger that was trying to get out.
R.L. was that way all week long. I didn’t see him on Saturday, but then on Sunday, his Grandmother walked in our Church. R.L. followed, although he looked uncomfortable. Service progressed normally, until the Pastor began his Message. The title was “Yes I Care”. At it’s conclusion, R.L. walked to the Altar.
I was stunned, but I hadn’t know what had happened with his Grandmother. She had driven all night as I said, but not to argue with him. She took him to the best restaurant in town, and ordered his favorite meal. They had all his favorites, even two desserts.
Then she spoke to him, words first, and then tears followed. “I was praying for you last night, I always do. I know that your parents are battling, I know the problems that you have. I know you feel like you’re an afterthought, that no one cares about you, but I do. If I haven’t shown you as I should, then I’m sorry.” He hugged her, and tried to console her.
On the way home, she asked if he would come to Church with her that Sunday. He didn’t want to, but agreed. When the Pastor gave his title, he asked her if she had said something to him, she hadn’t. He was amazed that a God, that he didn’t even believe in, was telling him that he cared. Even when he felt others didn’t care, so R.L. thought he would give it a try.
Over the next few years, he completely changed, and he was now the Pastor of that Church. When I had gotten serious about Church, he was there to help me. Now, we were close, and R.L. realized that your Mother and I were on a different time table.
He warned me that if I didn’t catch up to her soon, I would face some strong competition. I listened, but drug my feet. That was when Hagar Anthony thought he could pick up the pace where I was lagging behind. He had decided that your future Mother would make him the perfect bride. I had to convince her that he was wrong.