Around The Camp Fire
Hey ya all! Hope you’re all well and your blessings are many. I’m just going to jump right in and tell ya of a much too often told story of a broken heart, sorrow and a troubled soul. Now this memory happened many winters ago but I found it in one of my yearly journals.
It begins on one of those nights where the snow is lightly falling and it’s ten o’clock at night. I drove past Cal’s house (we all called him “Cal” because of his coming from California, It only came up once but he would never again admit to it.) I pulled into his driveway and with the aid of my headlights I saw Cal, a bottle, and a shot glass all on the tailgate. I pulled into the driveway and asked what in the world was he doing. Cal said “Have a seat.” I climbed on to the tailgate, sat down, and Cal said “Have a shot.” I picked up the half empty bottle and looked at it. Cal said “Don’t worry, it’s the good stuff.” Sure enough it was pure Kentucky Bourbon whiskey. To my reasoning, if Kentucky breeds the best race horses in the world they might have a grasp on whiskey as well, besides where I come from it’s rude to turn down a man’s liquor. I filled up the shot glass and down it went, burning the whole way down then landing like a brick in the bottom of my belly. I could tell Cal was hurting; he never even looked at me.
Cal had a girlfriend, mighty pretty but lacking in the more important areas. Here is what Cal had to say in his own way. “She was long gone before she ever left. The fact she’s gone will come to me eventually. I wonder who’s gonna tell this last heart of mine?”
We sat there on that tailgate; snow still slowly falling as Cal filled another shot and handed it to me, and then took one himself. I didn’t say a word, to my way of thinking I was just there to listen. Cal then ran his fingers thru his hair, pulling it back from his face and said, “Blame whoever ya want, the end is the same. Guess I’ll just blame me.” Then he finally looked straight at me and said, “Have ya ever just watched something die, then try to do something about it? I’ve watched plenty.” I sat there listen’en as Cal poured out his pain. He went on to say; “Does it show? Every smile a lie probably shows in ways I never know.” Those were no hollow words. Cal spoke what he thought. Cal, my friend was hurting. The loss of love might just be the greatest and most painful hurt of all.
As we sat there in silence, the Wyoming snow slowly coming down but now the flakes starting to get bigger. We must have sat there for ten or fifteen minutes without a word said. Cal was a Christian man, so I told him the way I saw it, hoping it wouldn’t fall on a hardened heart caused by loss.
These are the words I told him. “Cal, I’m sorry. She must not have been in his plans for you. Ya know God has a sense of humor. Sometimes he places a nugget of blessing in a bundle of heartache. He wants to see if you will look through the bundle for the nugget or just live bitter with the bundle. For some unknown reason he loves you and I. God wants to show his love through us. You may have lost a girlfriend but don’t lose your faith. Of course you know it is a test and sometimes the more painful the test the more blessing received, if we remain true to our faith in him. Surrender your understanding to him and know that he has our back. Jesus has promised better things for you.” Then there was nothing. Cal seemed to sit there and ponder.
After a couple of minutes, Cal reached over and put the cork in the bottle, picked up the bottle and shot glass, then jumped off the tailgate. Then looked at me with a stone cold face with a single tear coming out of his left eye and said, “Thanks, thanks Ty for being here.” As he started to walk towards his house he finished with; “Only fools sit out in the snow, see ya on the healing side.”
Cal is now married to a great gal and owns a small ranch in southern Wyoming. Guess he found his nugget in that bundle after all. Cal is and always will be my friend.
“Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry for help come before you. Do not hide your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me; answer me quickly when I call.” Psalm 102: 1-2
May God bless those with a broken heart. May they too find what they need in that bundle.
In the name of Jesus Christ of the Nazarene I pray.
Cowboy Pastor Ty