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Big Dinger

I was uneasy. My high school history teacher, who was also the varsity football coach, wanted to talk with me after class. He was normally a mild-mannered, likable teacher although he knew how to get after us on the football field. What did he want?

“Jon, I’m concerned about some of the behavior changes that I’ve noticed in you recently.”

His words did not sit well with me. I blew him off and reassured him, “Coach Chambers, everything’s fine; there’s nothing to worry about.”

Sure, I had radically replaced all my long-term naive Christian friends and was now accepted in a different group. Sure, I had found that drinking a little alcohol and smoking a few cigarettes did not automatically sentence me to hell; as a matter of fact, I was now finding an inner release and fun with my new friends that I had not previously experienced. It seemed that I was now starting to really live for the first time.

“Jon,” he said, “your attitude has changed, and I don’t like it. I’m very worried about you.”

What did he know? As far as I was concerned, he was brain-washed like all the other teachers and parents and Sunday school teachers and brothers, sisters, and friends that I was turning away from. As far as I cared, they could all live their shallow, hemmed-in, old-fashioned lives. I was free for the first time. I found something better…

That was 1979. I wish I had listened to Coach Chambers. The next two years of my life went from exciting and exhilarating into darkness and despair. An unimaginable torment. The party was over quickly. My brilliance was tragically short-sighted.

Long story short, I turned to Jesus and said “uncle.” I give. I surrender. Jesus fixed it… in some ways quickly, in some ways slowly. Not, however, without lots of scars and a destructive path of devastated relationships.

I went back and apologized to my old naive friends and family. They took me back. One of those Sunday school friends is still a good friend to this day!

I never did go back and apologize to or thank Coach Chambers. Nor will I. He has since passed away. The old guy, who used to call us “big dingers” on the football field, actually did know a thing or two. Incidentally, he started a tradition of football winning that lasted a decade.

*Note: My book Holy and Wholistic Health! is in the final stages of the publishing process and should (hopefully) be available within the next 3-5 weeks. More details to come!

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