Friday, January 5, 2018

Where Is Your Favorite Place To Eat?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
This question comes from Princess Sherri, who has shared many a dinner date with your servant. The answer is In-N-Out, but not for the reason you're thinking.

They have great burgers. I like their fries, even though a lot of people say they taste like cardboard. Before they came to Tucson, I remember taking a few road trips up to Phoenix just to get lunch there in conjunction with doing some other shopping and fooling around.

But In-N-Out has a special place in my heart because the one on Stapley Road in the Phoenix area is the one where I asked my friends for spiritual help and made the commitment towards getting right with GOD.

As I have recounted before, it happened on a Saturday night in 2007, right after a Civil War ball with We Make History, and a few weeks after a horrible experience during a Civil War re-enactment at Picacho Peak, where I fell ill with heat exhaustion and others said they were praying for me. As I wrote more than a decade ago...
Praying for me? I was worthy of prayer? Me, the rookie who could barely get the drill right? I could not comprehend it. In a camp church service the next day, I learned General Robert E. Lee had also fallen into tears upon hearing others had prayed for him. "I am just a poor sinner," he said. When the service ended, tears had streamed down my cheek as well.

A friend of mine who led this service saw the cry for help. After I explained it all to him in an e-mail, he gave reassurance: looking out for me was "simply who we are." He posed a question: "Why has GOD brought you here?"

I already knew the answer, but I still felt the void. Stresses of work still pressed on me and confusion about my purpose gnawed from within. I didn't know where I stood with God and I was afraid of the answer. I remember looking at a knife while making lunch one day and thinking, I don't think I should be holding this.

Several weeks later, after another wonderful ball and a post-dance feast, our commander came to my spiritual aid in a place I least expected: outside an In-N-Out in Phoenix.

"I feel comfortable asking you this because I've known you for awhile. If you're uncomfortable with anything, just say so and I'll immediately back off. Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart?"

"Probably," I said, "but not in exactly those words."

He said he noticed I was being drawn back to GOD, especially after that sermon at Picacho. The truth came out of me then, first in a few drops, then in a cascading waterfall of nervous admissions about the emptiness within me and how journeys into the past were helping me deal with the present. With a few friends by my side, our commander prayed with me as I asked CHRIST to come into my heart -- another poor sinner wanting to get right with GOD and heal.

On Easter weekend, I went back to church on my own for the first time in more than a decade.
My We Make History friends and I still eat there every so often after balls. It's our place -- a place to share a meal and memories, along with prayers. That's food for the soul.

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