Paid in Full – an Epiphany

There are moments in life when we figure something out and the knowledge sets us free. We sometimes call this an epiphany.

I had one of those things this week. If you owe someone a lot of money and you can’t pay even part of it back, you’re not going to be excited to see them. But one day, a man in similar circumstances (we’ll call him Ray) received a summons to appear before someone from whom he’d borrowed a large sum of money (we’ll call this guy Arnie). Arnie had a business to run after all, and needed his money back. Ray dreaded the appointment because he didn’t have the money to repay the debt. The time came for him to go to the meeting with Arnie and knowing he couldn’t get out of it, he went.

On the way, he contemplated, what is the worst that could happen? Well, at that particular time in history, the worst could be death or imprisonment. Or, Ray and/or his family could be sold into servitude to pay his debt. Which is exactly what happened. When Ray told Arnie he couldn’t pay, Arnie got mad, slammed his fist on his desk and promptly called for his minions to take Ray and his entire family and sell them. Sell them. Slavery. The money made on the sale would pay off the debt.

Yikes. Ray was pretty upset. This was not one of those seven-year indenture kicks, it was life. Not just for him, but his whole family, too. Ray fell on his face in front of Arnie and began to weep. “I’m so sorry! I’ve been an idiot. Please forgive me, and allow me a bit more time to come up with the money.”

Arnie was smart enough to know that a man like Ray would have a really hard time coming up with the amount of the debt, which was great by the day’s standards. Years of compounded interest had ballooned the original sum. But Ray’s humility as he sobbed like an infant, lying on the floor, touched Arnie’s heart. “Get up, Ray. Today’s your lucky day. I’m going to let you off the hook.”

Ray stood, blew his nose and wiped away the tears. “When do you need payment? I’ll get it somehow.”

“No,” Arnie said. “You don’t understand. I’m letting you completely off the hook. You don’t owe anything.” He picked up the paper that Ray had signed, tore it in two and tossed it on the fire. “The debt is paid in full.”

Ray was speechless. Once again, tears ran down his bearded cheeks, obscuring his view of Arnie. He swallowed a grapefruit-sized lump in his throat, and pushed out a word of thanks. Confused and kind of in shock, he backed out of the office and started home. Then it hit him. His debt was paid in full. He owed nothing. Zero. Naught. Zilch. He danced all the way home.

I am standing here today, free from debt. Set free from a load of debt I could never repay unless I’d won the lottery or. . .ok, that’s just silly. I have no debt. None. Zero. Zilch. Free. It feels good. I’d like to break into a song and dance routine, but it would scare the neighbors.

When someone pays a debt for you, a really big debt, after you recover from the shock and humility, you’re going to feel pretty good. Like Ray, you may want to dance. But one thing I would urge you to do: Do unto others. You’ve been forgiven, forgive others. No matter how big the debt incurred against you. Forgive. In complete forgiveness, there is true freedom.

I know this is a little different, but it comes from my heart. Thanks for reading.

A Few Important Things to Remember About Mothers

Some of our most precious memories revolve around our mothers. They are usually our biggest fans. Their love is unconditional. Unless you really screw up, they never give up on you. 

Some important facts about mothers: We all have one. No two are alike; they’re as individual as your fingerprint. They tend to be protective and territorial (frequently compared to momma bear). When there is no water available, they will clean your face with their own spit. Some of them really can’t cook. You love them anyway. 
Husbands, never say this to your wife: My mother always did that for me. My mother can teach you how to cook (after eating what your wife prepared). My mother (insert anything here).
Folks tend to be protective of their moms. Like a very beefy guy on a bus once said, “You can insult me, but don’t insult my mother––or you die.” 
I am thankful to be a mom. I love my sons. I have amazing daughters-in-law. And I love my precious grandchildren. I can be over-the-top silly where they are concerned. And I love Mothers Day, even though I suspect it was created to sell greeting cards, flowers, and whatnot. I love visiting my mom and wish I could spend more time with her. That’s her in the picture with me and my middle son, Matt. You can read a more poignant post about her here. Check out middle son Matt’s amazing website here.
In closing, may your Mother’s Day be blessed, whether you’re a mom or celebrating a mom. And thanks for taking a minute to read my post. 

Hometowns, Teapots, and Thirty-one Miles an Hour

I suppose you could say Louisville, Kentucky (home of the Kentucky Derby) is my hometown, since I’ve lived here most of my life. But when I was a child, I lived in several small towns in West Tennessee. Places you might think of as hometowns, because they were cozy and small. One of those towns is featured in my latest work in progress, Annabelle’s Ruth (working title).

Trenton, Tennessee, the Gibson County seat, is a lovely town. The beautiful courthouse is built in the Victorian style and though the town is small, it boasts an impressive list of historical homes, mostly built in the town’s center.

Since it is the county seat, many roads lead to Trenton and if you look at the map, you’ll see that many of those roads bear the name of the town or city to which they lead. Milan Highway, Alamo Highway, Dyersburg Highway, just to name a few. My main characters live on a tenant farm located on Milan Highway. The story is set during the early 1950’s when they were surrounded by cotton fields. And it’s hot.

Trenton, originally known as Gibson-Port, is the oldest town in Gibson County, chosen as county seat in 1825. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Trenton occupies an area of about 5.6 square miles and boasts a population of just under 5,000 people (latest census 2000).

Picture by Jordan Lamb

This is an actual speed limit sign in Trenton. It’s not a typo.
This weird but true speed limit was instituted in the 1950’s. It does get your attention.

Trenton is the hometown of John Wesley Crockett, son of David (Davy) Crockett, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Tennessee’s twelfth district).

These days, they are particularly proud of their rare teapot collection on display at the Teapot Museum, especially the Porcelain Veilleuse-Theiere (night-light teapots). The week-long Teapot Festival runs the last weekend of April through the first week in May. The Museum and their impressive number of beautiful old homes and mansions makes them an interesting stop, if you’re ever headed their way.

Well, I’ve got to get back to my manuscript. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Trenton and will click through some of the links.

Thanks for reading, and hope your horse wins, if you’re into that kind of thing!