1997 - I'm back in Woodstock, Betty has moved on and soon so would I. It's the kind of thing one would see in a movie, but I tried it and it actually worked. As part of the scoring system at the bowling center it was possible to send messages to bowlers on individual lanes. And so I did. We'll call her Angela (these are not real names, just a reminder). I asked her when we would be going out and to my surprise she walked up to the counter and said "You tell me" and smiled. Well . . . needless to say I was overjoyed. A few dates later we were inseparable. She lived in Carrollton, GA and I was a fixture in Carroll County for the first six months of 1997. Thinking I was Ross Geller from Friends naturally I proposed and she accepted and I really thought this was the end of the search. Well . . .
Change of subject . . . On June 9th, 1997 on lanes 17-18 at AMF Woodstock I bowled my one and only 300 game during league play. It's an experience I'll never forget. But the joy didn't last very long, not long at all . . .
Two weeks after I bowled that perfect game I was alone again and I quite literally went nutty one night, I lost it. (I'll spare details, I'm embarrassed by my behavior, not toward anyone but myself). As quickly as it had begun it was over. Angela was gone. I would lose my job and then I would get it back a few weeks later, but I was just aimless, completely aimless.
Enter God and an old friend (Thanks Mark) with an invitation to be a counselor for a youth retreat in Panama City Beach. Almost immediately my friend seemed to regret bringing me. I was reserved and quiet (those of you who know me know if I'm quiet, something's wrong ;)). But one night on the beach I looked up into the sky and said, "alright, that's it I'll do what you have called me to do." When I get back home I'll enroll in a Bible college and prepare myself for life in ministry." From that point on the retreat was a pleasure. I opened up and was told I was a great asset to the team.
When I got home I did as I promised. I applied and was accepted to Atlanta Christian College. I would start in the Fall of 1997. It looked like everything was finally heading in the right direction.
But September and October of 1997 would provide two events which could have very easily derailed my life. And they almost did. God reached down and pulled me out. It wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. More to come . . .