If Iâ€™ve learned anything, itâ€™s that all life experiences have character building value that is needed for our next step. What may seem difficult at the time usually turns out to be a valuable experience.
Using todayâ€™s glasses to appraise experiences that took place back in the 1940s is unfair to say the least. For that reason the thought that Iâ€™m sharing today is not for appraisal, but for praise. Since circumstances were much different back in the 40s than they are nowâ€”my story is not a unique one. Many men and boys of all ages experienced similar things.
When I was barely thirteen years old I decided it was time for me to leave home and make my own way in the world. Looking back, Iâ€™m not sure how I thought I was going to accomplish that.
I didnâ€™t have any money when I left home and Iâ€™m sure I didnâ€™t have any great strategic plans as to how I was going to make my place in the world.
My worldly possessions consisted of a small cardboard box which held my other pair of pants, a couple of homemade shirts, an extra pair of underwear and my other pair of socks (that were in great need of darning). By todayâ€™s standards that doesnâ€™t seem like much, but back in those days it was all a fellow needed.
Not having any food didnâ€™t seem to be that big of a deal because there was always a Good Samaritan who was willing to share a meal with meâ€”every day or so. Actually at that time I didnâ€™t think life was all that bad.
Sometimes at night I would sleep in the ditch by the little two lane highway. I called it my ditch bed because I would cover myself with the tall grass that was on either side of meâ€¦in order to keep off the dew. At other times I would find a good firm picnic table in a roadside park and use that for a bed.
I remember looking up at the stars at night and somehow being thankful for the simple things of life; such as freedom and a place to sleep. Today it may seem strange to many of you that a thirteen year old kid would think those kinds of thoughtsâ€”but I really was grateful. Perhaps it was while laying in my ditch bed or on my picnic table bed that I learned the lesson of being thankful for even the small things in life.
Over the years God has blessed me and I can well afford to buy anything I need or want, but Iâ€™m still thankful for things such as a new pair of socks, a good meal and above all, a good bed.
Itâ€™s now been over sixty years since those first glorious days of finding my place in the world. I still thank God for those days. I think one of the reasons Iâ€™m so grateful is because I had the privilege of meeting so many mother and father type folks along the way that helped shape my perspective of life.
I thank you for trusting me with such a wonderful beginning. I thank you for all the people you put in my path in those early days. You seemed to have put an artist brush in each of their hands and allowed each of them to paint a stroke of my lifeâ€™s picture. My life painting has many colors in it. Some of those colors are like parables that only make sense to You and me.
Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries