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I saw Doug for the first time in January 1981 when I was beginning what I thought would be the most boring class I’d had in college. It was one of those filler classes when all the ones you really want keep closing. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t stay in the class but was going to give it a couple of weeks before dropping. The classroom was in one of the older buildings on campus and the desks weren’t the slicked up table and chairs bolted to the floor but rather these 40 year old free standing wooden things with metal cubbies underneath for books. The first day I stepped into the room there were about 20 or so desks facing the blackboard and hardly anyone was in them. Across from the door and facing the sides of the desks was a lone desk, and there sat a young man who looked up and smiled at me. I smiled back but thought, “Why is he sitting there when all these desks are empty? ” Immediately I thought he was too self-aware and a turkey.
The room finally filled with students and the instructor came in. He was an older man with a combover, and he wore a white, short sleeved dress shirt and had chalk dust all over the front of his pants. As he launched into the requisite speech about how he ran his class, I wasn’t really listening. My eyes kept straying to the turkey sitting to the side of all of us. Then the instructor said there would be devotions at the beginning of each class and the students would be called on to do them. That got my attention. I knew I didn’t have any devotional material and wasn’t inclined to get any. Then he took us all off the hook and said it was completely voluntary, and that he already had someone to do the first devotion. He extended his hand to the side of the room, and I turned to see the guy in the lone desk standing up in his ragged jeans and golf shirt.
Humph! I wondered as he squeezed down the aisle to get to the front. What could he have to say that wouldn’t sound contrived? He said hello and made a shy grin reminiscent of James Dean (whom I found out later he had never seen; heard of him but didn’t really know who he was). I was almost a goner at that point, and then he said he was reading from Romans 14. Oh yeah, I knew it was going to be lame. The weaker brother stuff again. It was verse 4: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand,” and then he looked right at me and grinned again. I was about to feel convicted, well, yes, I did feel convicted, but I was definitely a goner when he said, “I don’t sweat too much about what others are doing, and I hope no one sweats too much about what I’m doing,” and then he sat down. I don’t think I heard a word the teacher said that day. I could not stop thinking about those moments. They were like a drumbeat in my head, and that was the case for the next three weeks when I stepped into the class.
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Doug needs a kidney transplant. He was recently added to the deceased donor list and has a wait of up to five years. But he has been advised a living donor kidney is best. So I come with this blog to make others aware and to encourage him. For more info, please see the “Kidney Donation” page.