Grateful in Grayson
Those who know me well are aware of my love for the old Andy Griffith Show. Many a late afternoon is spent mentally escaping the hubbub of the Washington-Baltimore corridor for the simpler life of Mayberry. (And by your smile I detect that I'm not the only one.)
My all time favorite episode is Man in a Hurry. Remember? (You're smiling again!) It's about the uptight businessman whose car breaks down on a Sunday afternoon in Mayberry. His frustrations mount at the slow pace of townspeople who refuse to be rushed until finally he learns that life is more than feverish work and excessive hurry. It's a lesson many need to learn, including me.
And I did. One moment I was whizzing along Interstate 64 in eastern Kentucky on a quick trip from Washington D.C. to Louisville and the next I was sitting on the side of the road thanks to a fuel pump which decided to "expire." (If you've ever been in that position you know it's a pretty helpless feeling.) The exit sign ahead said: "Grayson." I got out and walked towards town.
Thanks to a fellow with a tow-truck, which had seen better days, we limped into the Chevy garage. I soon learned that the Chevy dealer in Grayson is the place where men-folk gather on Monday mornings for coffee and talk about politics, the Cincinnati Reds and whatever else is on people's minds. "Any of you know where Kehoe, Kentucky is up on the Carter-Greenup County line?" I asked. Several heads turned in my direction perhaps a bit wary of the stranger whose car bore Maryland plates but who seemed to be well versed in eastern Kentucky geography (it probably didn't hurt that I still retained my Kentucky accent). "Why sure I know where Kehoe is," said an older man born and raised in the county. He added, "My wife's people are from Kehoe." I replied, "Then you've no doubt heard of the Wamocks from Kehoe." "Wamocks, sure I knew some of the Kehoe Wamocks," he said with a touch of warmth. I then proceeded to tell him that my father-in-law was Weldon Warnock who grew up in those parts. (There is nothing that promotes acceptability any faster than when people learn that you know who they know.) Our conversation from that point on was especially pleasant.
My car was finally repaired and it was time to leave. The bill was presented and I pulled out the plastic I carry for just such emergencies. A funny look came over the face of the owner behind the counter. "Uh, we're not set up to take credit cards," he said. "Just cash or check." Now that presented a problem since I hadn't bothered to bring the checkbook and the small amount I had in cash wouldn't begin to cover the bill.
I explained my dilemma. "No problem," he said. "Just send me a check when you get back home." "Say what?" I wasn't sure I had heard him correctly. He repeated himself. I thanked him and offered my license that he might gain the needed information. He declined. "Don't need to see that. Just drive careful and send me a check when you can." And with a grateful smile, I did (both!).
On the road to Louisville later that thy I couldn't help but be thankful of a few things, namely:
The value of a good name. Solomon said, "A good name is to be more desired than great riches." It was good to be reminded that one's reputation carries more clout than the finest credit card. (I might still be in Grayson if the "Warnock" name hadn't been so well received.) Thanks Weldon, I owe you one!
That people still believe in people. I realize that businesses can't always operate on the honor system (not and remain in business!) but it's encouraging to know that sometimes people are willing to trust you anyway. I often think of my grandfather who never had much money but who had more credit than anyone. His word was his bond. He defined integrity. People believed in him and he believed in them. It is very apparent that Jesus lived that way, too.
The need to slow down. I love the verse in Psalms which says, "Be still and know that I am God" (46:10). I am impressed with the fact that as busy as Jesus was he was never hurried. He was never too busy to pray, or answer another question, or bounce a child on his knee. He illustrated in life that God wants us to be faithful, not frantic.
I'm aware that there are some Christians who equate spirituality with busyness and frugality of everything, including emotions. Possessed with the elder-brother syndrome (always uptight and overly stiff about everything including themselves), they feel that life is too serious to be wasted on such frivolous things as laughter and relaxation. (I know some preachers like that. Do you?) That's sad. Please correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Jesus enjoy periods of relaxation (Mk. 6:31-32)? And didn't he attend festive gatherings On. 2)? And wasn't he criticized by some who didn't consider him to be serious enough (Matt. 11:19)?
Sometimes we get moving too fast. I'm convinced when such happens our spirituality suffers. I know mine does. That's when I must listen again to the psalmist's counsel, "Relax and know that I am God."
It was Hugh Prather who wrote,
If I had only ... forgotten future greatness and looked at the green things and the buildings and reached out to those around me and smelled the air and ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations and heard the rain on my roof and put my arms around my wife . . . perhaps it's not too late.
My friend, don't let the time become a tyrant rather than a friend. Don't allow joy to become something to be done later. Slow down. Do it now. Schedule less and enjoy it more. Take a deep breath and gain a taste of life. And remember that our strength lies not in our hurried efforts and long hours but in our quietness and confidence in God.
And . . . should your travels take you through the hills of eastern Kentucky, stop in at Chevy dealer in Grayson and tell 'um "Weldon Warnock sent ya!" ct
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 20, p. 13