Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outlook (06/02/11)
- TITLE: Iron Has Sharpened Me
By Virgil Youngblood
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The following day, Hugh sat at my desk in the bank requesting a loan to purchase a motorcycle for his business.
Hugh owned a well run, high volume garage. In addition to servicing a major industrial customer’s fleet of vehicles, he offered tune-up and motor repair to the public. His business provided a comfortable living for his family. I had been his banking officer since the inception of his business and we had become friends.
Without doubt, it would be more economical for him to make frequent runs to pick up small parts using a motorcycle than the pickup he drove. His reasoning made sense. But, his ability to drive a two-wheeler safely in Austin’s congested traffic was a concern. Hugh wasn’t a spring chick.
“Don’t you think it might be hazardous scooting around on a bike?”
Hugh just laughed. Digging a colorful business card out of a shirt pocket, he handed it to me. In addition to the business’ name, address and telephone number, there was a message written in script: I Fix Everything – From Broken Hearts to the Break of Day.
“I appreciate your concern,” he said. “But I can handle it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yup!” he said. “There’s something about me you don’t know. In World War II my job was instructing troops to ride motorcycles in combat. I can handle it.”
I approved his loan.
The attitude conveyed on Hugh’s business card reflected his personality. If you had troubles, Hugh knew how to fix them. Hugh fixed problems, those not mechanical in nature, by introducing you to the true problem solver. In a quiet, non threatening way he would tell you about a Savior’s love. That catchy wording was just to get you talking to him and he would take it from there.
His can-do approach to living, with God’s help, was a great example to me for I was half his age and had, I hoped, a lot of living yet to do. He pointed me in the right direction.
And, so did Uncle Ben. He was an elderly black man employed as a porter/maintenance man most of his adult life at a motel near the University of Texas. I doubt Uncle Ben ever earned above a minimum wage.
He was gregarious, a man of great character, and above all loved his Lord. When the church he attended sold its property, he brought the money to our bank. He wanted me to make sure the funds were kept safe until a new location could be found, and that it could not be used for any other purpose. For some reason he enjoyed talking to me, and I relished talking to him.
Uncle Ben and his wife had three grown children. One was a university professor, one a psychologist, and one a medical doctor.
I could only hope and pray my three children would someday turn out as well as his. I marveled at the success they had achieved. Their accomplishments reflected more than ability; they reflected dedication and commitment over a long period of time. It all happened, I thought, because of the faith Uncle Ben and his wife had in their Lord.
I will forever remember the winter day he came into the bank swiping slushy, icy sleet off his coat with his big hands. A howling storm was pinging sleet crystals against the windows. Approaching my secretary Uncle Ben hollered. “I want to see my white Daddy.” That’s the way he always addressed me, and only he could tell you why. I suppose he deemed it appropriate because he usually came seeking advice.
“Hey, Uncle Ben” I responded. “It’s a terrible day isn’t it?”
“No, Suh!” he quickly admonished, his resonant voice booming across the lobby. “It’s just the way He wants it to be.”
Since that day, I have never complained about the weather. Uncle Ben wouldn’t approve.
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