Monday, January 17, 2011

A strange memory...

Years ago, when we lived in Austin, Texas, we had a small publishing business upstairs, and I had an antique shop downstairs. We had the cutest red and white building, with a flag flying...

One of the fairly steady visitors that came by, was a man named Charles Harrelson, we later learned he was Woody Harrelson's father. He was a very intelligent, articulate, likable, charming guy, and he and my hubby began to visit during his stops, and even went across the highway to Dairy Queen for coffee quite a few times. We knew he was interesting, but we didn't know much more... he told us he knew how to do card tricks and showed us some of his skills. I've never seen anything like it! He could make those cards hop and skip and knew just where they all were. It was fascinating.

He told us he had a sister who lived a little further down the highway, so each time he visited her, he stopped by. He and my hubby began to have long conversations... and they talked about faith and God, and Charles said he envied us that we believed in God and had faith...

At about that time, on the news one night, they announced that Federal Judge John Wood had been murdered in San Antonio, and they had arrested Charles Harrelson for the murder. As his face flashed on the tv screen, we were stunned!

Bottom line... he was tried and convicted for that murder. He had been in drugs for years and had already spent time in prison for other crimes.We wrote to him and heard back from him, and then he was transferred and we lost touch completely.

A few years ago, he died in prison.I have thought of him so many times, and wondered and hoped that maybe he had changed his thinking and opened his heart, but it's one of those sad memories that stays with you.

Eternity is real, and people are rushing right though life as though it will go on forever. It reminds me every time I think of it, that people who live and die without Jesus, face eternity without Him. It makes me quicker to speak, and bolder to share when I remember that there is NO hope apart from knowing Him, and EVERY hope because we DO know Him.


Rita said...

Oh my, what a terrible thing to take to the grave with you. Hopefully, he found his way to the Lord. So many just slide by in life without Him. Eternity is a very long time. You're right, we need to speak out more. said...

Wow!...what an awesome reminder that we need to share His word and truth with can we just keep it to ourselves? I pray that want you sowed in his life was water and harvested by others...we are only to be obedient, God is the one who calls them to himself.
May I not miss my opportunities.

Farm Girl said...

Wow, That is such a moving story, I do pray from the bottom of my heart that something you and your husband got through to him and that he came to know Jesus as His Savior. That is such a moving testimony. Thank you so much for sharing. Who knows that as Jesus said that the fields are white with harvest but the workers are few that God had you there at that perfect time for His perfect will. It gives me chills.

Pamela said...

Amazing story. Not only was God faithful to him through your husband, He kept you both from harm, too. Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet him in Heaven?

Felisol said...

Dear Sonja,
Your story is moving and your testimony and care for this tormented man will definitely not be in vain.
These words from Isaiah have encouraged me, even if I am not very courages of nature.
Isaiah 55:
"10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Thanks for a good reminder.
I must try to become more bold.- Standing up and be a "fool for Christ", even though I am nothing, His words shall not return empty.
From an inspired Felisol

Debra said...

This is a very interesting memory. Wow! We never know do? And what a pleasant surprise if by some chance he found the Lord before he passed away and we see him in heaven!

Sandy said...

I remember reading an interview a long time
ago with Woody and he spoke of this. What
a sad and tragic thing. You never know how
much someone needs Jesus and that's why we
always need to share our faith. To think
this poor man envied you all for believing
God and having faith when he could have
had a relationship with the Lord himself!
I pray he had time and asked Him into his
heart at some point before he left this

Just Be Real said...

Sonja, wow what a story. Amazing. The power of God's protection is evident. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Such a powerful and haunting story Sonja. I do believe that perhaps we have one more chance, when we die, when Jesus comes to meet us. We may have one more chance to turn toward or turn away. Let's pray that Charles is with the Lord. We don't really know what goes on in the heart....sad story.

Debbie said...

This is such a sad story. It seems like I heard "bits and pieces" of the murder and jail for Woody Harrelson's dad. Now, I can not only put a face to him, but I know a story of one seed. I pray that before he died, he remembered the seed and believed.

Every day we have the opportunity to plant the seeds in the Charles Harrelson's of our life. Very convicting reminder.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

And important story to share...

We must stay vigilant and bold in our sharing of the Gospel!


Kathleen said...

Divine appointments. How can we take even one for granted?

Obviously the Lord knew who to summon when this man needed Good News. I can't help but believe The Truth set him free at some point, though certainly not before he descended to a tragic bottom.

Eternity. How many play fast & loose with it? I fear more do, than don't. I pray we are all quick to share His word when occasion arrives.

Powerful story!

Rose said...

Sonja, such a powerful reminder to share Jesus with everyone we come in contact with. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story! Hugs, Rose

myletterstoemily said...

goodness. hopefully, your words of encouragement
salted his desire to have your faith. we never know
really who we are talking to.

what an amazing story! it sort of took my breath


Territory Mom said...

You have some amazing stories. Thanks for sharing.

Ann said...

As usual you have a very nice post with the right touch of wisdom and faith too.

Melanie said...


Debbie Petras said...

Sonja, you have such interesting stories!

How very sad though to read that he was able to see the difference faith in Jesus made for your husband and you and yet he was not at the point of believing. However, you planted a seed. How wonderful it would have been if you learned that those seeds had been watered in prison.

I'd heard about Woody Harrelson's dad but this makes it different to learn of this encounter you had with him. Oh that we make every moment count and share the love of Christ with others.

Thanks for sharing sister Sonja.

Love you,