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Column:Get High On Life

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / June 15, 1998

A Life Turning Around To Christ Gets Cut Short

I sincerely believe that after a person becomes a Christian, everyone he or she meets is by divine appointment.

Eight weeks ago, I met a 35-year-old man at a treatment center named Rickey. He was a likeable young man, handsome, with a good personality,but you could easily discern that he could be a manipulative person.

Rickey and I hit is off pretty well. The first time I saw him, I told himthat the thing I disliked the most about him was that he didn’t realize how important he was to God.

During the next four weeks, I had the privilege of seeing Rickey once a week. He shared a lot about his life. I found out he had a girlfriend whowas 5 months pregnant. His girlfriend had a 10-year-old son.Rickey, like plenty of people I meet, told me he wanted to keep in touch.

Most don’t, but Rickey did. He called me often and wanted to meet me withhis girlfriend, Melonie, to ask some advice.

A week ago Tuesday, Rickey, Melonie and I met at the Holiday Inn in LaPlace. I really challenged Rickey with some tough love. I told Meloniethat Rickey didn’t love her because he didn’t even love himself. I askedRickey if he was a Christian. He said, “I go to church.” I suggested that ifhe didn’t intend to serve God, he should quit going to church. “You are ahypocrite,” I said. “Do you intend to marry Melonie?” I asked. “Don’tknow,” he answered. “I’m afraid of the commitment.” “You’re really notmuch of a man,” I said, with love.

Rickey listened like a little boy. “Either marry her or be man enough toleave and support the child that you will have,” I continued.

I turned to Melonie and said, “I would like to say that you’re a pretty lady, but to be honest, I can’t tell. All the hurt and pain you’ve had in your lifehas robbed you of your beauty.”Before we left, I told them both that I loved them and we prayed. I huggedRickey and told him I’d be his sponsor if he wanted. I kissed Melonie andshe was teary-eyed. “I really enjoyed today,” she said, as she smiled, andthen I could tell she was a pretty lady and I told her so.

The following Friday, Rickey called me. “I just got back from a supportgroup,” he said, seeking my approval. “Another thing, Mr. Keller, Melonieand I are going to be married. I want to be the person God intended me tobe.” I was excited, and I let Rickey know my feelings.Sunday night, I received a call from Rickey. “Went to church with my momand brother,” he said. “It was good, Mr. Keller. I feel great!” “How isGarrett (Melonie’s son) doing?” I asked. “He’s doing well. We’re going to beOK,” he answered.

This past Tuesday, at 9 a.m., while driving two of my grandchildren tobaseball camp, I heard on WWL that Rickey Davis was killed as he and his twin brother walked on Louisiana Highway 631 (Old Spanish Trail) in Paradis. Hoping against hope, I was thinking maybe it wasn’t the Rickey Iknew, but deep down I knew.

When I got home, Melonie called and confirmed it.

I called his mother, Linda, and expressed my sympathy. In the course of ourconversation, she said, “Mr. Keller, Rickey really loved you. All he talkedabout was the relationship he had with you. He was so honored that youoffered to be his sponsor.”Yes, Rickey and I had a relationship and it was heaven-sent. I also thinkthat Rickey finally had a personal relationship with Jesus.

Concerning someone being honored, I definitely was honored that God allowed Rickey and I to cross paths. I’ll miss Rickey.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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