Friday, June 12, 2009

."I found God at the corner of Race Track and 155" *To the tune of "You Found Me" by The Fray*

Every now and then everyone has a slot of time, that seems almost designated and on schedule, where things are just slightly off from what they should be. It's not necessarily noticeable to anyone else but for the person in that slot the world might as well be falling apart.

I have been in this slot now for a while...Spiritually. Not to say my world has fallen apart or anything because God is faithful to keep His promises that he has promised to me (*And my wife is amazingly awesome to me*) but good Lord it seems so hard to find Him sometimes. I guess that's where actually seeking Him and talking to Him comes in handy.

Isaiah 55:6 "Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near"

I know in my heart that He is always near by but just because some one is near by doesn't mean that you let them help you. That'd be like saying you can lift a car because you have 25 strong men near by. Well, if you don't know those strong men or talk to those strong men, or ask them to help you lift the car you are probably not going to lift the dang car. You'll probably just end up squatting in an awkward posistion, straining so hard that your head starts to look like a big toe that just got busted with a hammer and throwing your back out. That is pretty much how I felt until yesterady.

After trying to find a "revalation" in the Bible and doing the "every now and then" prayer where you "seek His will" I finally found God in a rinky-dink music store at the corner of Race Track and 155. His name was Samuel Burke and He came to me as an old black man from Louisiana with a worn, white v-neck t-shirt, gold chain, stark white, backwards, brave cap, slacks, and "old man shoes". The ones from Wal-Mart. Half his teeth were gold and the other half were gone. His skin and his eyes shone like his teeth. I strained to understand the words he said. He sounded just like you imagine him.

He caught me right before I was about to leave and I thought to myself in a self rightous way "What does he want?" Well, he told straight off what he wanted. The conversation went something like this.

Sam: "Hey, you play gitar?"
Me: "Yes, sir."
Sam: "You any guht?"
Me: "I do what I can."
Guy at the register who has never heard me play that I know of (Robbie): "Oh yeah. He's good. He can make it sing." (He's always talking that jibber jabber anyways).
Sam: "How long you been playin'?"
Me: "12 years. But I should be way better than I am..."
(Sam got really excited when I told him I'd been playing 12 years and his eyes just lit up and he graced the world with a gold tooth grin.)
Sam: "Oh you guht then! You stay rit thayuh now. You gotta show me sumthin'."

I stood there while he payed for whatever it was he was paying for. At this point I wasn't paying attention still because well, I had things to do!...

He took me over to the wall of cheap guitars and snagged an low-end Epiphone SG off the wall. At that moment I was trying to figure out how to tell this guy that this guitar was a piece and also be kind about it with one of the salesmen standing right there (who I think was the guy who has the vitamin/herbal shop in McDonough. He's a really nice guy.). My words were flying every-which-a-way in my mind like they were in some cosmic space storm. They began to all be drawn to the center of the storm like there was a super strong magnet drawing them. Then they began to be pushed from my mouth.

To my suprise, and immediate grief (as I am a gear snob sometimes) Samuel didn't even care about the quality of the guitar other than was it in tune. He quickly began to ask me questions and show me all the single notes he knew all up and down the neck and play me every chord he knew: which was about 3.

Once I got over myself and saw this guy really wanted to learn I set my bag down and started to show him exactly what he was asking. Simple things really that he just didn't know. The difference between Major and Minor bar chords on the "E" and "A" strings: The simplest of simple. You would of thought that I revealed the great mysteries of the world to that man. You could see it in his worn face; he got it. He got it!

He then started to spew words like only people from Louisiana can: incomprehensably. Is that a word? Well it sounded as if he had a bag of rocks in his mouth and someone had punched him right in lip. I heard something about "fixed income", "can't afford guitar lessons", and "barter" but I could tell that his heart was genuine. These weren't excuses, they were facts. Then his words became slightly more understandable.

Sam: "Gohd save me outta hurricane Katrina. I gotta learn this gi'tar. I awnah play in da chuch. Gotta give glory t'Gohd and I awnah play in da chuch. Y'see Gohd brought meh up and he an' He brough' meh out an' He saved me. Gotta give Him glory. I was tryin' t' make it on mah own and fin'ly learnd that I had to submit to Gohd and trus' in Him. Y'see Gohd will bring y' up an' set y' on a path but so many of us try t' go our own way. We got the will o' Gohd goin' right long b'side us and we don't even see it till we submit."

Then it got really clear and he looked straight at me and his voice changed.

"You gotta submit to God so he can put you in His will."

Right then everything stopped and I knew in my heart that God had spoken. The room began to spin a little bit and I almost lost it in the middle of this rinky-dink music shop in front of a man I'd never met before. I didn't lose it. Samuel's Louisana draw brought me back in.

Sam: "Heh heh you gwanna haf' mah fangers hurt'n'! That'sa goot thang though. Ima haftuh practice hard. I awnah play at da chuch. Gotta give glory t'Gohd. Heeh Heeh! Mah fangers gwannah be huhtin'!"

I shouldn't say that I found God yesterday, really. It was more like He grabbed my car, took it to the music shop, threw me in the door and made me stay until I heard what He had to say.


  1. Phenomenal! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joel ( this is Naomi Gomez, btw the name and junk messed up)
    this is an awesome story. God is so cool like that.

  3. Wow! God throws you into music shops!!! He usually just hits me over the head with a frying pan. You know, the big ones, like Sam carries in LOTR. Awesome story :)

  4. And you wonder why I want to be an old black man... :)