Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
Many years ago, when Tommy and both boys were in college at UT, we lived in a neighborhood that had a large housing project across the street. Everyday we had kids cutting through our yard or sitting on the bridge over the creek that ran by our house, smoking cigarettes and also smoking other things! After a couple of months of watching them we decided to have them come over for a night of food and games, so we put a sign on our fence.....FREE HOT DOGS THURSDAY NIGHT. We had about 50 kids show up in our back yard.
We had them over every week after that. One week we had hot dogs and the next pizza. Then a rough game of battle ball would begin. When it started getting dark we sat around and talked. After awhile we decided to start a Bible study on Tuesday for anyone who wanted to come. About half did! This ministry went on for 3 years until we moved to NYC.
Last night we had a reunion of as many of those people as we could get in touch with. This was in the early 90's so it was hard to find them all, but we managed to get hold of a few. What a wonderful night! SO many memories. Some who came had been baptized during those years.
One friend, Jeff, brought his son, Noah, who is 15. Many of the kids who came all those years ago were his age. Each of us shared what has been going on with us since then. I directed my words to Noah. Here is what I told him.
YESTERDAY, I WAS 15. (everyone laughed when I said it). I repeated...NO! I AM SERIOUS! YESTERDAY I WAS 15. TODAY I AM 81. WHEN I WAS 15 MY OLDER SISTER GOT MARRIED. I WAS IN THE WEDDING. THE THING I REMEMBER THE MOST IS THE UGLY PERMANENT MY MOTHER AND SISTER GAVE ME BEFORE THE WEDDING. I HAD THESE UGLY TIGHT LITTLE CURLS ALL OVER MY HEAD.
THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT MATTERED TO ME YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS 15. TODAY, AT 81, I WISH I HAD KNOWN YESTERDAY, AT 15, WHAT WAS TRULY IMPORTANT. MY THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS AT 15 WERE PURELY SELFISH. I ONLY THOUGHT ABOUT MYSELF. I WISH THAT YESTERDAY, AT 15, I HAD REALIZED THAT THE ONLY THING THAT TRULY MATTERS IN THIS LIFE ARE KINGDOM THINGS. SO, NOAH, I HOPE THAT WHEN YOU TURN 81 TOMORROW, YOU WILL LOOK BACK AT YESTERDAY WHEN YOU WERE 15 AND REMEMBER THAT YOU DID THINGS THAT COUNTED FOR THE KINGDOM.
I hope and pray that Noah listened to everyone last night who said much the same thing, only in different ways. i am on a mission to tell young people especially, that tomorrow they will be 81. Live today so you will have no regrets.