Last Christmas I posted a kind of thank you note for some people. I want to do that again although it is probably not what the teachers are looking for. Guys, some of you may not know what I am saying, but the profs will since they have read my other short esays from another class.
I know in this class we have a big range of philosophies. I respect you all. Each of you is completely free to say something or someone was sent to me or these things I mention were just coincedences.
When I came out of high school I was not in the gutter. Nothing that dramatic. But I had hurt myself and had fallen hard, physically and mentally, down in the dust. And a couple, Jack and Alice, came by and picked me up, dusted me off and helped heal my wounds. When I was in my worst pain a priest came by and brought me medicine and made a sign on my forehead and I felt so much better.
But, as I said above, I had more than physical hurts. My self respect was almost totally gone. Then I found an organization (a church) that did not make me feel guilty when I went there. They did not talk about how bad I had been, but how I might help others. And Alice who took care of me taught me when she changed my sweat- stained clothes not to be ashamed even of my unclothed body which I had misused. Alice and the priest taught me the importance of being touched by hands that just wanted to help me.
This college took a chance and let me go here when I really didn't deserve it. Jack and Alice who took me in pay all my expenses and let me live with them and ask for nothing in return. And a woman, hundreds of miles away, found or was sent to me; she said I was not trash and was worth something. She came through the internet and what she did for my self respect I will never forget.
And the guys at school, you guys, didn't laugh at the physical scars from a whipping on my back when I was fifteen or my character scars. You might not know how you helped, but I want to say thanks. The professors I have had here, probably not into religion very much, never put me down. I thank them.
I found or someone sent me a girl to help me heal. I knew she cared for me when she wrote "I more than like you." Maybe not the most passionate words, but words I knew were true.
Many more people have helped me, but maybe an incident that occurred yesterday can partially sum up what I am trying to say. Two friends of mine, 18 and 19, came by the house of Jack and Alice (and I am going to call it my home.) They both had on 'cut off' tank tops to show their strong biceps and necks because that was important to them like it used to be to me since we all played football. Jack had gotten them jobs for the summer and they wanted to say thanks. The priest who brought me the medicine was there to say goodbye since he was going to another town. We all talked about basketball for a few minutes;then the priest had to leave. He came across the room to where I was sitting and put his hand on my head and said as he had many times before"Frank, Jesus loves you." And then he added in a low voice with a slight quiver in his words"Frank I hope I have helped you a little. I know you have helped me." Then my adopted father said "these two young men (Mark and Art) are starting on a journey, will you say something to them?" That from old skeptical Jack! And Father Welch went to Art and Mark and placed his hand of each ones head and said "Jesus loves you. God be with you."
Well that's it. I hope Mark and Art get to live part of there boyhood over again as I got to. I mean by that to be cared for and helped by others before they become men.Maybe some day the three of us will be the helpers who ask for nothing in return. Our city has a nationally known Methodist minister who always talks about 'grace' which he says means"unmerited love." So I say to all of you and to that Other One, thanks for your Amazing Grace, that saved a wretch like me. Frank