Never put a period where God only puts a comma!

Never put a period where God only puts a comma!
                Many years ago when I was in the initial stages of falling apart, a friend sent me a book that was somewhat spiritual in nature. There was a sentence in the book that I will never forget – “why do people always put a period, where God only puts a comma?”
                I have thought about that a lot lately when I read in the newspapers about people (sometimes lawyers but sometimes not) who have gotten themselves into difficulties that are life changing. It is of course very stressful for a lawyer or almost any person to get either into professional trouble or personal ethical or criminal difficulties so bad that the individual is facing a prolonged period of serious adversity, sometimes ending in losing the right to practice one’s profession or even worse, losing his or her freedom.   I am talking here about going to jail.
                Hardly a week goes by that we don’t read in the newspaper some story of a person’s fall from grace. I remember those days in my own life well. I remember friends of mine saying to me, “this was the week that Jim Blackburn’s life collapsed”. I remember thinking that way myself, and indeed, it was the better part of a year before I stopped believing my life was over.
                But it was not over, and neither is the life of anyone who faces adversity. The only difference between the people we read about in the newspaper and ourselves today is that our mistakes or life changes are not made public. And isn’t that a good thing!
                For me, the road back took a lot of twists and turns. Initially, everyone I knew wanted me to get into network marketing programs. A good friend, who used to work for Bailey’s Jewelry in Raleigh’s Cameron Village, told me she would buy anything I was selling, but that I had to be sure to put whatever it was in a paper bag if I brought it into the store. No one could see what she was doing. . Clearly, I did not do very well in this line of work. 
                And then I worked as a host at the 42nd Street Oyster Bar, making $6.00 an hour, before taxes, and almost died, trying to keep up with the social life of all the young people who worked in the restaurant. Soon though I became a waiter…for a really long time. I was working at the restaurant when my son Jeff was a sophomore at Wake Forest and was still there when he graduated.
                I wrote the first version of my book Flame-out years before it was finally published and put it away in a box after a lot of people told me how bad it was. It was only when I rewrote it years later that it was ready to be seen and read. 
                I worked for a few years at the state’s retirement system as assistant to the Director when Harlan Boyles was still the state Treasurer and then walked two blocks after 5:00 p.m. to the Oyster Bar to continue the day waiting tables.
                What I am trying to say is that it was a long time before I realized that I had a future writing and speaking. It did not happen overnight. But there was never a period to my life, only a comma. It just took me some time to find the rest of the sentence. And so it may be with those people we read about now. It may be that way with you.
                But the one thing I believe almost above everything else is that you should never give up… You should never stop trying. To do that is the only way you put a period to your life. Don’t be too discouraged if you don’t find your way to a new life or new job or career immediately. All the length of time means is that you are still in training. 
                My friend Wade Smith is fond of saying, “if no one has died, everything can be fixed”. That is true. If today you are facing the loss of anything that is important to you, try to take a deep breath and tell yourself you will be all right. It may take some time, but you will get there. Never put a period where God only puts a comma.”

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