Whose “Building” Will Your Name Be On?

by Andy Wood on April 13, 2009

in Enlarging Your Capacity,Five LV Laws,Life Currency,Love,LV Stories,Principle of Legacy,Words

dan-law-fieldIt was, without a doubt, one of the lowest periods in my life.  I was broke and jobless, living in the wake of my own failures.  My whole world had turned upside down.  I was torn between two directions – to stay in that part of the world that I had always considered home, or to venture out to a place I had only seen on trips to my in-laws’ house.

My wife wanted to be near her parents during that season.  I wanted to live in Anywhere Else, USA.  “If the world was flat,” I said, “Lubbock would be on the edge of it!”

But my world was flat. Our family divided.  Our children scared and hurt.  And I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know anybody in Lubbock. I had no network, no support there. But to be fair to Robin, I had to try.

I made a phone call to my pastor.  Did he know anybody?  As a matter of fact, yes.  As another matter of fact, the man he knew happened to be in Mobile, where I was staying at the time.  He owned a business there, my pastor said, and gave me the phone number.  He was really busy, but would be able to squeeze in a few minutes to visit with me about a possible job in Lubbock.

I called.  “This is Andy Wood.  May I speak to Mister….”

“Oh, you want to speak to Dan”? the lady said in a relaxed voice.  “He’s in a meeting right now, but wanted to know if you could come by at 2:00 today”?

“I’ll be there.”

I put on my best suit and grabbed a new resume on linen paper.  I was a textbook interviewee.  But there was no hiding the fact that I needed him far more than he needed me.  He was friendly and gracious, but honest.

“You’re not worth much to me right now,” he said.  “But I can offer you a job as a sales trainee and provide you with a car.”  He then offered a salary that was gracious for him, but only about half what I had made in my previous job.  We never said it, but he and I both knew that, in my current distress, I had to keep looking.  But he knew something more.  He knew I was living in the land of the walking wounded.

I shook his hand to leave, and he held on to it, looking me in the eye with a gaze that was warm, but strong.

“If our paths never cross again,” he said, “there is something I want you to remember.  Don’t let people keep score. You know, people love to keep score.”  Then he repeated his encouragement:  “Don’t let people keep score.”

I needed to hear that.  The encouragement helped, far more than he or I realized in that parting moment.

I eventually did move to Lubbock a few months later… kicking and screaming, mad at God, my “last act of surrender” (I thought)… but that’s a story for another time.

I was tooling around town one day, on the sprawling campus of Texas Tech University.  I saw a sign and did a double-take.  Then I passed it – Dan Law Field, Texas Tech’s baseball stadium.  The same Dan Law who didn’t know me or owe me, but had cleared off a spot in his busy schedule to offer me a job and, even more important, some encouragement.

thelaw1Who WAS that guy”? I asked.

Time passed, and with it, my good intentions.  I had often thought of trying to look Dan up and say thanks for the encouragement on a day I really needed it.  Occasionally I even thought of cold-calling him on the phone, but didn’t.

Five years later, through another set of strange circumstances, I had the privilege of preaching for the first time at Lubbock’s First Baptist Church.  After the early service, a very gracious lady walked up to express her appreciation for the message.

“I’m Mrs. Dan Law,” she said.

I looked at her bug-eyed.  “Have you got a minute”? I asked.  “I have a story I want to tell you.”

She was delighted, of course, and told me that I’d have my opportunity to say thank-you in the second service.  And thank him I did.

Dan Law is a successful businessman, who understands the power of leaving a legacy.  He’s also wise enough to understand that legacies are made of more than financial generosity.  To Red Raider baseball, he may have been a benefactor whose name will live on long after his lifetime.  But he’ll live on in my lifetime as a man who made a difference with encouragement.

Benjamin Disraeli once wrote, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”  On a lonely day a long time ago, a man who owed me nothing did that for me.  And to thank him, I have decided to pay it forward.

Want to join me?

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