They looked like the typical modern all-American kids. Short hair, fairly clean and neat clothes, pristine tennis shoes, unshaven cool. As they pushed their car into the gas station I was waiting to fill up mine. I probably unfairly summed them up – the sun was going down and they were coming out… “Probably been playing video games all day,” I thought to myself.
When they asked me for money so they could get gas for their car I began to ask questions. “You go to school”? was one of my first questions. It took some time before I finally got out of them that they attended one of the schools for trouble makers, goof-offs, and the slow learners.
That gave us something in common…My mind jumped back in time to my high school days when I was about their age. Before they had those type of schools they had certain teachers whom the dregs of the school would follow from unused classroom to unused classroom just to keep us from disrupting the regular classrooms. I heard kids threaten the teacher’s life on a regular basis; cussing the teacher was a daily occurrence. It’s hard to see a bright future from those kids perspective…
“You have plans after school is done”? I asked the driver. “I’m gonna work for my dad I guess,” he answered without enthusiasm. “I’m gonna go to a trade school”! the shotgun passenger proudly announced. As I chatted with the young men my heart was grieved for them. I threw out a few pieces of advice before the driver asked a direct question – it was more of a plea, “Can you give me or tell me something that will motivate me”?
“What”?! – I asked, hearing just fine as I continued, “You want me to give you desire, passion, and perseverance”?!!! He knew he’d hit a nerve as he stood respectfully and listened to me rant, all three of them did. “I’ll give you some advice that’s worth light years more than gas for your car,” I spoke earnestly.
I went on to share with them the truths that were shared with me when I was young, the things our generation got from the ones before us that we’ve done a woeful job of passing on to our next generation.
These kids weren’t bad kids, it’s my opinion that they’ve been neglected. Those kids were desperately seeking guidance and acceptance from the older generation. I’ve given the life speech so often, it’s like second nature to me. All the lacrosse girls in years gone by have heard it and a new group of girls are hearing this year.
Most importantly I shared with the three young men about my faith, “Without my faith in God, I’m not me.” – “Don’t believe the lies of the secular world that tell you you’re not special – that you’re here by chance”! – “That’s a lie”! ” – You have a purpose”! … … “You have computers”? I asked. “Yeah,” they answered in stereo… Of course this generation has computers… Just not gas… Sheeeesh.
“Do me a favor, Google “Finding Floyd,” I told them, not that I’m overly eloquent, but I try to write the truth from a Biblical perspective and we were now holding up the line behind us after talking far longer than was appropriate. “I would love to know years from now that you’ll tell someone about the guy you met at a gas station who helped change your life”! I told them.
By then they’ll have learned there is no such thing as a chance meeting in God’s world…Not with this grouchy gas pumper….