This I Believe

Tom - Champaign, Illinois
Entered on October 17, 2008


I believe that other people can be our spiritual glue helping to mend us when we are broken by the pain and problems of life.

For many years I’ve had the line of a song in my head that would just not let go of me. I have finally decided it is my theme song.

The line goes like this, “I was walking around in pieces and I never even knew that the way back home to me is the road I took to you.” (Barbara Keith, singer/songwriter)

I’m almost seventy years old now and I see this song playing again and again in my life.

I have been in pieces so many times.

I remember when I was a young teen my parents “separated.” My mother took us kids and moved to a new small town. We were really short of money so I decided to go down mainstreet asking for a job. I was too young to be hired and the economy was tight, but I was determined to get a job.

After about fifteen tries I was getting pretty discouraged. I came to the town drugstore. I asked the owner, a big older man, for a job. I could see that he was different than most of the people I had approached. He looked me in the eye and he listened to my request seriously. He explained that he couldn’t hire anyone right then, but he also said he could see that I looked hot and tired. He took me over to his soda fountain and asked if I wouldn’t like something to drink.

Embarrassed, I had to explain that I had no money to get anything.

“Oh,” he said. “This will be on me. How about a chocolate shake?”

Now, chocolate shakes were my most favorite thing in the world although I seldom could get one. I immediately said “O.K.” and climbed on one of the stools.

That was the best shake I had ever had. I can still taste it today.

While I was drinking it the druggist stayed right there and talked to me. Through a couple of kind questions he soon had me sharing my life story. As I told him about my parents’ separation, it suddenly dawned on me that they would not be getting back together. As this knowledge swept over me I began to feel how broken in pieces I really was. I fought back my tears. The druggist didn’t say much, but he did stay there with me. And this caring from a stranger helped me put my life back together.

I can point to many other times when I have felt “in pieces” and to persons who were my spiritual glue. You can try to explain this in many different ways but what works for me is to see these persons as “little Christs” carrying out that marvelous line from Colossians “in him (Christ) all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).