My Time Machine

My first friend, outside of family, of whom I have the earliest conscious memory, is Rusty Gilliam. Rusty was my friend next door when we both were very, very small. We both grew up in the same church.   We remained close friends up until late into high school when various things caused us to drift apart. There was no “falling out,” it was just the growing up process and being involved in different activities and groups.

This past week I reconnected with Rusty, in a manner of speaking, through Facebook. Yes, Facebook- that social media avenue with which I have a love/hate relationship. In this case, Facebook has served me well. We have sort of reconnected in that he finally, after months, accepted a friend request but he has yet to respond to my personal message. I’m anxious to get his phone number and call him.

Through Facebook I now have a window into Rusty’s life- a life to which I had no connection for over 30 years. We lost contact before I even started dating Connie- who he has never met. Through Facebook I’ve seen pictures of Rusty’s grown children, pictures of him walking his daughter down the aisle for her wedding, and pictures of his parents with whom I was very close. It truly has been like stepping out of a time machine.

With much sadness I discovered that Rusty’s father died about a year ago. Mr. Gilliam was truly one of those second Dads from my childhood. He loved me and I knew it. He was a man who truly modelled a great love for Jesus and for people.

I probably spent the night with Rusty more times than any other childhood friend. I remember waking up in the mornings and walking out into the den of their home to find Mr. Gilliam reading his Bible. He loved Jesus. He spoke of Him often to others. He loved the church we grew up in. He had a major impact on me through his life and lips though I never got to tell him so.

I wish I had a time machine and could go back in time and tell him these things. I hope to share them with Rusty. I share all this with you because I want you to know that you can have a major impact on the youth and children of our own church by your life and lips. They’re watching and who knows what they will recall about you, your faith, and your commitment to the Lord.

I’m thankful I had a Mr. James Sewell Gilliam, Sr. in my life.