For the first interview of the holiday season, we of course had to spend some time talking about the outcome of the Iron Bowl. I think it’s safe to say that no matter who you were cheering for, it was one of the strangest college ball games ever. It did, however, provide a good segue for the topic that was on his heart, and that was preparation. We have much to celebrate in Athens when it comes to the fruits and power of preparation. The University of North Alabama Lions football team has a shot at the Division 2 title after coming out of nowhere. The Tanner Rattlers are on their way to a possible back to back state championship. Local eight and nine year old soccer players have taken a state title, and Athens High School went two rounds in the state contest. He summed it up by saying, “There is a high level of energy in the community.”
Conversely, he added, “Defeat can sometimes be turned into victory.” There is no question that Auburn was prepared and their first year coach, Gus Malzahn, provided the strategy and energy to do the impossible. Whatever happened with Alabama, the chance exists to come out of this in better shape than the one in which they ran into Jordan Hare stadium. “Having enthusiasm is part of being prepared, as is ‘being prepared’ to get back up,” he also said.
Most often we talk about some of the things that spoke to us while worshipping, and while I Cor 13 has known no shortage of comment from the pulpit since we were kids, he scratched down some notes on the power of love. “Love is the life blood of the circulatory system to the spiritual body.” While I chewed on that, he also mentioned that “that doesn’t mean we bend to wrong ideas, it means we stand firm in love.”
On Thanksgiving Day he had helped deliver and distribute meals to people in the community and took one of the kids from the Mayor’s Youth Commission with him. I saw him when he returned, and he was pretty steamed about some places they passed while on the way to their stops where housing had been vandalized. “It was awful,” he said, and I know the idea of housing that could be put to good use being torn up for sport rankles him. Having lived in Mexico, where peoples’ housing sometimes were made out of cardboard refrigerator boxes while drug dealers had private jets parked close by would get to us, too.
“The Mayor’s Youth Commission and T.R.A.I.L. (Together Renewing And Improving Limestone) are doing well,” he told me, and one of his most brightly burning visions is for mentoring the kids of our area so they can do well as the leaders of tomorrow. His day ended with hearing a preacher on TV “singing his tune.” The man said, “Keep hitting the victory channel when you ‘surf’ your life.” Positive or negative energy, the choice is yours, and shootin’ for the positive is another thing that makes Ronnie roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner