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52 Godly Men : Men of Today Teaching the Men of Tomorrow » My Journey » Week 40: A Peaceful Parent

Week 40: A Peaceful Parent

After everything that has been going on in my life lately, such as a ton of people staying with us, a relative dying, and my soccer team’s state tournament approaching, I was desperately searching for a break. Just spending some time of peace and quiet without any pressure on me to do something or go somewhere. Thankfully, I finally got that break, because I spent the day with Randy Gray, a peaceful and quiet man if there ever was one, and one of the wisest guys I’ve ever seen.

Randy at ChilhoweeHe picked me up at my house at ten, and we first drove to Panera Bread™ so he could have a cup of coffee. While there, he gave me some background on his life. He’s had a various assortment of jobs in his life, ranging from moving pipes in Oregon to working as a security guard at M&M Mars to running a gas station. A bit after he became a Christian, he  heard God telling him to attend a college (which he didn’t want to do), so he joined the army, because they offered a partial scholarship. Despite many trials and tribulations, Randy was able to shine the light of Jesus, even in a place like basic training, with half of the other soldiers hating him. Needless to say, he was extremely elated when his two years were up and he left for college; he said that his last day, he literally couldn’t stop smiling, no matter how hard he tried.

In his search for a nice college, Randy thought about Jimmy Swaggart University down in Texas, but a friend happened to mention that if Swaggart fell, the school fell. Soon afterward, the exact thing happened, and Randy thanked God he hadn’t gone there. He was still looking for a good place to attend, when a family member invited him to come to Lee day. He didn’t particularly like it, but after a while, it started to grow on him. Finally, he turned in his application at Lee, and they accepted (Lee is also where he met my Dad). One time, on a student exchange, Randy had the opportunity to visit China, but he visited at possibly the worst time; 1990; right after the college uprising. He said that while he was there, you could feel the fear in the air. However, despite all of the uneasiness, he enjoyed his time in China. He said that it gave him a chance to be appreciative of all the things he takes for granted here in America.

The View from the MountainWe had finished our snack at Panera by this time, and Randy decided to take me up to Chilhowee, because I had never been before. It was a long drive there, and we talked the entire time. He told me how he had been a schoolteacher for kids that are a bit behind the rest of their class, some of his adventures/escapades during tutoring years, and why he finally quit. He also gave me a few more stories about his time in the army that I hadn’t gotten at Panera. While we talked, Randy and I admired the beautiful scenery around us. The road wound around hill and dale, steadily climbing higher and higher. At last, we reached our destination, Chilhowee. There’s a little lake up there where people swim in the summer, and a trail about a mile and a half long leading back to a waterfall. It’s a great place for talking and chilling, which happened to be what we were doing.

One of the main things Randy had wanted to talk about with me was the trials of an inter-cultural marriage. Having a Chinese wife, he knows about them firsthand. He said that one of the main problems is that one of the pair is living in a foreign country, and they have to live in a completely different atmosphere and culture than they’re used to. Also, both of the pair have been raised differently, so they have altered views on how to live and raise kids. Another big difference is the fact that a lot of the time, with the cultural differences come contrary personality traits; Randy loves the quiet country, his wife is a city person. Not that either of those are wrong, but they both bump heads with the other. But he tries to fit everything together as best as he can, and he does a pretty good job of it.

Another thing about him that sets him apart from a lot of people is the fact that he and his wife had twins. One thing I have always wanted to know is whether twins are harder, easier, or the same as just one kid, or two children within a few years of each other. Randy said that it’s a lot of fun, mostly because he knows that they’re never alone, and they always have someone nearby when they need help. First-day-of-school fears? No problem. So are awkward play dates with new friends, since (if worst comes to worst) they can just play with each other. But the best thing about twins is that they have a person to confide in and tell their sorrows, joys, and fears 24-7.

Randy GreyThe last thing that I wanted to know was whether or not having red hair has ever kept him from  making friends or developing relationships. He said no, although when he was younger kids used to tease him about it. However, he didn’t let it get to him. We talked a bit longer, and then came back down from the mountain. Both of us were feeling hungry, so we grabbed some food at a restaurant that actually sits on some of his property, and then he took me to his home for a while. He showed me around (it was weird seeing on one wall a small Chinese kite, and right next to it an eight point elk rack mounted on a plaque), and we chatted just a bit more. Then, he took me home. I was full, rested and happy. Not only had I learned a lot and had a great time with Randy, but I had gotten to just kick back and relax for a day with someone that would let me do just that. I would have written more about our time, but I have a tournament tomorrow that I have to pack for. Until next week; so long!

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