Thomas Jason Roberts was 52 and in the middle of a nasty divorce. His auburn hair was thinning. Within two years, he would be bald. As he stared into the restroom mirror, he saw the dark rings beneath his eyes.
He pumped the soap dispenser and lathered his hands. They were shaking. I am falling apart, he thought. It took all of his self-control to hold back tears that wanted out.
Where were the answers? Is this how my life unravels in the end, he wondered. Nothing was going the way it was supposed to go.
His green eyes stared back at him in the mirror. “I am so lost,” he muttered to himself. The brown paper towel came out easily. He dried his hands, tossed the paper in the receptacle and walked out into the hallway.
He could hear people talking and laughing in the small room. “God, help me,” he whispered. Inhaling deeply, he walked through the doorway into the small room.
A black man, his age, sat in the gray metal folding chair. He wore a short-sleeve white shirt and a brown tie. He nodded and said, “Hello”. He, too, had thinning hair and a receding hairline. His face was not wrinkled anywhere. Lucky you, Thomas thought.
A short, slightly overweight white woman named Beth smiled at him. She pointed to an empty chair and said, “Welcome. I am Beth.”
He offered half of a smile in return. “Thomas Roberts is my name.” His legs were too long for the chair, but he adapted. Being too tall for chairs was a common experience for Thomas. After all, he was 6 feet and 6 inches tall.
There were others, twelve of them, all around his age. The teacher, a fifty-something male named Albert Roy, had a full crop of black hair and wrinkles. Yes, he had a face full of deep wrinkles. He looked ten years older than his age, but had the spirit of a younger man.
His warm welcome and an introduction of the others in the room helped Thomas to relax. “We are so glad to have you in our class today, Thomas,” he said. “If we can do anything for you, please feel free to ask.”
Albert asked, “Would someone please lead us in prayer?”
The black man raised his hand. “I will”. He looked around the room and glanced quickly at everyone in the group.
“Thank you, Lee,” said Albert.
Halfway through the prayer, Thomas exploded emotionally. Tears rushed down his cheeks. A sense of embarrassment was not strong enough to keep him from letting go. “I…I…I am sorry,” he said.
Lee walked over to him and knelt down. He stared into his face. “May I take your hand, sir?”
Thomas was not able to say a word. He just nodded up and down. Then, he gave Lee his hand.
Lee began to pray the most powerful prayer Thomas had ever heard. He understands how I feel, thought Thomas. He has walked where I am walking.
The prayer ended and Thomas felt that his burden had lifted. He laughed. The others laughed with him. “I feel so good.”
Albert taught about Moses and some of his great struggles. Though Thomas enjoyed the teaching, his mind was on the healing that was going on deep inside of his scarred heart.
The class ended in prayer. Thomas sat there after everyone headed for the church worship service. I almost did not come into this Sunday school room, he thought. Thanks, Lord, for leading me here.
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