Attitude of Gratitude Week 3

Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Auburn University

Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Auburn University

When the phrase “Summer of 1969” is mentioned, many people my age remember that as the summer of Woodstock.  I was beginning my sophomore year at Auburn and aside from the difficulty of my classes, I remember the Summer of 1969 for another reason.

I had just broken up with an attractive Auburn co-ed and was down in the dumps when I thought of Karen Mullins – another attractive Auburn co-ed.  Karen was the fraternity “sweetheart” where I had been a pledge.  The thing I remember about Karen was her infectious smile, her down to earth demeanor and the authenticity of the friendship that she enjoyed with the men at our fraternity house.

I am not sure exactly why I thought of Karen that day, but I needed some encouragement so I made the trek across campus to Karen. She was a good listener and allowed me to share my heartache over my lost love.  In the midst of this, she gently steered the conversation to something she thought I needed, probably more than her listening ear.  She asked me if I had a personal relationship with Jesus.

I had been raised in a church going home and probably thought that I was a Christian.  However, there was something about the way Karen talked about Jesus, her relationship with Him and the difference that He had made in her life that got my attention.

After a couple of hours at Dorm K, I wandered back across campus to the Draughon Library and sat down under one of the many tall Georgia Pines on the lawn of the library.  I thought about what Karen said and realized that maybe I didn’t know Jesus in a personal way.

She had shared a simple prayer with me and after much soul searching, I repeated it that afternoon.  I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and make me the person he intended me to be.

I can’t say that my life became a bed of roses.  Engineering school certainly didn’t get any easier.  I didn’t get my girlfriend back but I did begin what continues to be a daily and very meaningful walk with God.

First and foremost, I am thankful that God, in His infinite mercy, looked down on the Auburn campus that afternoon and saved my soul and continues to love me and work in my life.   I am not sure how many other Auburn students came to Christ that day and I am not sure why he chose me but Andre Crouch said it well…..

I don’t know why Jesus loved me.  I don’t know why he cared.  I don’t know why He sacrificed his life for me. O, but I’m glad, so glad He did.

I am also thankful that a young Auburn co-ed spent a couple of hours with me on that hot and humid June afternoon. Karen was very popular and involved in countless extra-curricular activities.  I am sure that she had other demands on her time but she gave me the better part of her afternoon.   She had the courage to talk with me about my soul.  She talked me through how to become a Christian and what it might mean in my life.  How many nineteen year old girls would have done that?

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.   For the remainder of our time at Auburn, our paths didn’t cross much.  Karen graduated tops in her class and married one of the smartest engineers to ever “walk the Plains of Auburn”.  I graduated “laude how come” and married Nancy – aka “Nutri-Nan” and we built our lives together.

As both of us couples got our careers established, we connected again. This coming June 17, as I have done so many times over the past forty-five years, I will thank God for saving my soul and call or write a note of thanks to Karen, “the girl who led me to Christ.”