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Matter of Faith: Tuesdays with Morris

Single-mindedness.

What an awkward word, yet it is conjured when I think of Morris.

Morris and I grew up together and went to college together. There we studied some, goofed around a lot, and talked seriously as the occasion demanded.

Towards the end of my first year, the occasion was quite demanding. Morris had fallen for a girl. Forget that she was engaged to be married (to someone else). Forget my sense that we were mostly on her periphery as a couple of goofballs. Forget that she was leaving at the end of that first year to move back home to Memphis to continue her life (without him). Forget that Morris was finishing his third or so semester of college with no real prospects in life. Single-minded people don’t really filter and self-reflect.

The events I relate next may or may not be true. I promise they are as I remember them, but I happen to have a bent towards the dramatic and artistic and am willing to let history revise itself, as long as there is a strong finish.

At the end of the semester Morris came to me in a very serious mood.

“Regina broke up; she is moving back to Memphis. I’ve got to go there, too.”

Revisionist, remember, but my story is that at the end of the semester, Morris left “it” all behind — his college plan, his friends, his place to stay — and headed to Memphis to pursue Regina.

Here is the great part: Morris gets there and he only knows one person in the city. Since he has to live out of his car somewhere, he figured it might as well be in front of the family home of the love of his life.

Are you with me? Are you thinking what I am thinking?

As it turns out, Regina’s father was a wonderful, understanding man who felt sorry for the kid. I mean it is Memphis in June: hot, sticky, unbearable. Regina’s dad invites Morris in and helps him find his way in the big city.

Unbelievable.

I remember clearly the next time I heard from Morris. I was home for the holidays in southeast Colorado when I answered the ringing phone.

“She loves me! She said she loves me!”

“Who is this?” I asked.

“Morris!”

The upshot of this lovely story? Morris’ family just celebrated their second child’s wedding this past August. Morris and Regina also celebrated their 31st anniversary, and I can say from many hours spent in their presence, they are a joy-filled and loving couple.

What do I take away from this, beside the fact that Morris is a focused guy with a Hollywood story?

He has given me an example of what single-mindedness looks like.

Jesus made a challenging statement in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure looks like many things: comfort, careers, accolades or self-fulfillment. Occasionally, our treasure looks like Christ.

Paul the apostle was single-minded. A resonant scripture is Philippians 3:8, “… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”

Man, is that guy, Paul, single-minded. I bet Jesus liked that about him and I bet Jesus would like to see a bit more of that trait in me.

I hope to oblige Him.

I have a good example.

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