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?

Lisa @ *Graceful Abandon* April 13, 2009 at 11:57 am

What a great message. There was a man who once poured into my life and when I said “Thanks,” he told me to do that same for someone else. It’s a great lesson … paying it forward is so essential.


Lisa @ *Graceful Abandon*s last blog post..The VISION: I Dare You!

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