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FRONT-PORCH GOSPEL: A dark-haired beauty and a lesson on prayer

Good week to all. Welcome to the “front porch.”

I recently thought about a particular dark-headed young lady from LaGrange High School for the first time in years, and that for a couple of reasons.

One, my high school classmate Bob Hadley and I became friends on Facebook recently. I actually hadn’t thought of Bob in a long time, either – to my regret – but we all know how the high school years fade gently into the eastern sky before you know it. To me, Bob will always be inextricably linked to the young lady of whom I am referring. Her name I will withhold for now, only to tell you that she was a notable graduate of the distinguished LaGrange High School class of 1975.

Bob and I connected, I believe, in our junior year, my last full year at our beloved alma mater. It seems that I remember seeing him walking to school one day and – since I was the proud driver of a sparkling red 1965 Chevy Nova – I stopped and gave him a ride.

Two things I most remember about Bob are, one, that we rode home from school together for a good length of time that year – and, two, and equally important, that he had a class with this particular young lady with whom I had somewhat of an interest. The hope was that Bob might be able to have some pull and set us up. I must admit the chances of that, as I look back, were sketchy, at the best.

No, I’m not blaming Bob, because, as you well know, you have to give somebody something to work with in these kinds of matters.

Bob’s attempt to get me face to face with this young lady was a little like shooting baskets down at the Y without a ball. Or, if there were a ball sitting over in the corner of the gym, it was too flat to bounce. You understand.

So, despite Bob’s gallant efforts, I never spoke to that young sophomore back in 1972-73, except – wait, I could be wrong. I did say ‘hey’ to her a few times as I passed her in the hall changing classes. That junior year, I walked by that young lady every single day, timed it just right, I am sure, but the only twirling of my vocal cords that I could muster was a weak ‘hey,’ accompanied with a bashful smile. This young lady was nice and would return the courtesy, but her return smile was probably her thinking, “That boy’s gotta get some nerve up, because I know good-and-well he wants to talk to me.” But the Georgia boy never did, and the young romance fizzled like a piece of ice on the hot July sidewalk. Pssssst, and the chances melted away.

I said earlier there were two reasons I thought of Bob and the young lady after almost half a century. If the romantic ending fizzled, maybe this part will make the story worthwhile.

I have been studying on prayer as of late, and I came across that verse over in Hebrews where the apostle says that we can come boldly to the throne of grace – and ‘boldly’ there literally means to come ‘sharing everything.’ You don’t hold anything back, kind of the way we do when we talk to a good friend.

I thought, “What better way to teach that concept than by telling the story of the unapproachable dark-haired girl (at least, in my book). I did anything and everything else besides go ‘boldly’ to the dainty sophomore and make a request for a little of her time. You understand.

I was afraid, I am sure, that her answer would be something like, “Uh, never,” or “I’ll get back to you,” which, as we know, is a nice way to say ‘never.’

But, thankfully, with the Lord, we don’t have to approach Him with the fear and trembling of a nervous boy who is never even able to get his voice untangled from his tonsils. No, with the Lord, we just walk up to that throne of grace and say what it is we need to say. And the Lord – even though we know He is way out of our league, as we say – will listen. Pretty amazing, huh!

I bring up ‘out of our league’ because that young lady was a cheerleader, honor roll, class officer and the works, and, certainly, was in kind of another stratosphere than that junior lad who drove the red Nova to and from LaGrange High back then.

But, still, I am pleased to say – with a chuckle and fond memories – that the young lady is a Ms. Leigh Herrin-Ansley, now, with what I understand to be a very nice family living down in Jacksonville.

And I’m honored now to refer her and her family to that throne of grace we’ve been talking about – and thank her, too, for allowing her name to be splashed all over the bottom of this story. Well, maybe not ‘splashed,’ but at least tucked away safely for only the most patient readers to see.

Maybe there’s a lesson here the young lady, now years later, will appreciate – perhaps that’s why the Lord unfolded this story as it did way back then – so that we can all walk up those golden steps to the heavenly throne more boldly now. We always ‘have a prayer,’ I guess, when it comes to the Lord. That’s good to know.

But as for having a prayer with that dark-headed honor-roll young lady I passed in the LHS hall every day – ah, don’t think I ever had one of those.

Coach Steven Bowen, a long-time Red Oak teacher and coach, now enjoys his time as a full-time writer and preacher of the gospel. In addition to his evangelistic travels, he works and writes for the Church of Christ of Red Oak at Uhl Road and Ovilla. Their worship times are 10 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 pm. Wednesdays. Email or call or text 972-824-5197.

Ellis County Press

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