For many of us, details of many experiences fade over time, or quite frankly, the experiences were best left in the past. The good. The bad. The ugly. Some stay with us, while others slowly fade until they are completely forgotten. On the other hand, there are those experiences that are so powerful, we immediately tell ourselves, “I will never forget this.”
You know what I am talking about. A first date. The first time attending a concert. Your first driving lesson and so on and so forth. One grand experience can make a particular day one to never forget, but when two happen in the same day, it forces a feeling that cannot be described.
I was blessed and honored a few days ago to represent Brown and several other counties in the chambers of the Texas House of Representatives in Austin. This first experience, which can be described as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, saw me giving the opening prayer before that day’s legislative session began. I
had been preparing for this moment for about a month. I was required to send a copy of my prayer to a legislative aid two weeks ago, which by the way, was different for me as I don’t typically pray from a piece of paper. Back to it. Motel booked, directions (it was my first time), suit packed and ready to go. In my life, I don’t remember being intimidated often, but the night before I fulfilled my role as “Pastor of the Day”, I was so excited and nervous that I only slept for two hours.
Thursday morning, we arrived and after checking in, made our way to Representative Mike Lang’s office. Mike and his aide offered a rundown of how things would work.
As mom, Beth and I made our way to the chambers, the nerves kicked into overdrive. The speaker introduced Mike, who introduced me. As I am walking to the podium, I began sweating and then something happened. No sooner than I began to pray, a warm comfort and peace settled over me.
As I prayed, you could have heard a feather hit the floor. I was given a maximum of two minutes to pray, but in that two minutes, I felt as if the words the Lord placed on my heart were making an impact. I truly don’t believe the reality of that morning sat in until we were in Goldthwaite headed back home. Being able to represent my God, my family, my county and my church on a state level was an honor and opportunity I will never, ever forget.
Once we got home, I had a little less than two hours to shower, change clothes and get ready to head to the Coliseum for the annual Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet. As an ambassador, my job was to escort attendees to their assigned seats, which is amazing, because it gives me an opportunity to fellowship with some folks I don’t get to see very often.
The second will-never-forget experience came during the awards presentation portion of the banquet. I was honored to present the Ambassador of the Year award to my good friend Dustin, but more important, I was able to witness a legacy continue.
The children of Brian Wade, who passed away late last year accepted a Stuart Coleman Good Neighbor Award on behalf of their father. As Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes was talking about Brian and the life he lived, you could see the pride on the kids’ faces. Rightfully so, a standing ovation accompanied the presentation of the award. Brian was a man of God, an amazing father and someone who loved his community and giving back. And for me, he was a friend who always had a smile, a laugh and an encouraging word to share. Why was this experience so powerful? Not just because we were all able to share in Brian’s legacy, but the realization that his heart and legacy will continue with his children made the experience even greater.
Thursday was definitely one for the books.
Rick Phelps is the news director at KOXE-KBWD radio and a former staff writer for the Brownwood Bulletin. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.