52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #21 – Delloyd Cannon

Chris with Delloyd Cannon on a motorcycle
Ribbon Cutting for Luckett Technology Lutekk Image-Engineering

In Week 21 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Delloyd Cannon.

Some relationships must be meticulously cultivated in order for them to survive and bear fruit; talking everyday, hanging out, dinners, trips, birthdays, graduations, gifts, bail, etc. Then there are people like wild plum trees in Mississippi that you stumble upon with boughs of full, ripe, delicious fruit that are either an unexpected delight or refreshment in your time of need. These have been watered by God and this is what Delloyd Cannon is to me -a friend I did not earn but one that is a gift to me.

My life was undergoing a slow but significant transformation. I had not too long ago come through a battle with homelessness. The job I have at this point, selling cell phones at Cellular South, was what helped me get back on my feet. At the time, Cellular South had these tiny kiosks in Walmarts throughout the state of Mississippi. They were approximately 5′ x 5′, manned by one person and even with the spartan furnishings of just a chair and register there was barely enough room to turn around. Despite the cramped quarters, the job was enjoyable because of the wonderful people I got to meet and know. One day, this guy comes along with a smile as wide as the store aisle. His name: Delloyd Cannon. Within a few minutes of our first meeting we’re laughing. He asked me a little about my life and shared a little about his. By the time he left, I thought he might be the coolest and friendliest person I had ever met. After that, he’d stop by the kiosk once or twice a week just to speak. In a few months we became good friends. I was surprised to discover he was not long out of high school. I was surprised because he was mature well beyond his years. And, it so happened he was looking to move to an apartment. Within another few months we were roommates, which in itself was a¬†testament of how impressed I was with him. As an introvert, I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed living alone but I enjoyed my friendship with Delloyd even more.

The most¬†important part of the transformation I was undergoing was I had accepted Jesus Christ into my life and was struggling to align my day-to-day living with what I said I believed. My faith had the strength of a newborn baby while my flesh had that of a muscular, full grown man. Exposing myself to the wrong people or things could set me back years. But, as long as I’ve known Delloyd, he has done nothing to entice or encourage my fleshly appetites. While we were roommates, there was no porn, drugs or even a single drop of alcohol (not that alcohol is bad, but rather its abuse). Even with that, I was still battling mightily with fornication. But from those days until now, Delloyd diligently encouraged me in things that were good and praiseworthy; going back to school, starting a business, marriage, my first child, accepting my call to ministry. He has been there for it all. Fun fact: Delloyd and his beautiful wife Diajarta were the first couple I ever officiated a wedding for.

When we were roommates he would often introduce me to others as “big bro” but I’m sure I’ve learned more from him than the other way around. Another fun fact: Delloyd was the one who taught me to drive a manual transmission (stick shift) vehicle using his old blue Mazda B2000 truck. Besides that, he taught me a lot about being a true friend -lessons that I obviously have not perfected and am still growing into.

What I find most remarkable, is that all in the time we were roommates, I don’t think we ever darkened the doorstep of a church together or even cracked open the Bible together. Nevertheless, I say with great confidence that we loved each other. And, I firmly believe that when we love, we share God, and the better we know God, the more perfect our love becomes. This is evidenced by how my and Delloyd’s love for each other has developed as our respective relationships with God have developed. Also, God’s love never fails. Even after not seeing each other for years, when we reconnect, it’s like we had never been apart.

Delloyd Cannon is a precious gift to me -a friend who remains in my life not because of what I’ve done but because it’s simply who he is. He’s more than a friend. He’s my brother and I’m grateful. #52WoG

Originally posted to Facebook on May 22, 2021.

Dying For An Apology

Couple Disagreement

Has someone ever offended you and it seemed that the relationship was “on hold” until they apologized? Yep, me too. It naturally makes sense to think that the one who broke it should fix it. But, Jesus teaches something very different in Matthew 18:15. There, we’re told when someone hurts us, that we are to take initiative to restore the relationship and go to the offender. You’ll also find in Matthew 5:23-24, that Jesus commands those who realize they’ve hurt someone to take immediate action to restore the relationship. What does this mean? Regardless of who is in the wrong, I am responsible for doing all I can to pursue a healthy relationship.

I think this speaks to the heart of what it means to be Christian, a follower of Christ. Jesus’s entire purpose was to reconcile creation to God (Colossians 1:20). And to be Christian, is to be Christ-like. Therefore, we also have this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). What this means to me is that our default disposition should be one of restoral. We should be driven, looking, to restore people to fellowship with God and then with us.

This helps me, especially in marriage. When my wife and I are at odds, I must take responsibility for restoring that fellowship -regardless of whether I hurt her or if she hurt me. Practically speaking, if I truly desire to maintain the relationship, I would remove any obstacles that prevent us from getting there. And among the first obstacles to remove is the idea that because I offended her or I was offended by her, I’ve taken a position that is against her. Instead, I must communicate, even over-communicate, that I am for her, I am not her enemy, and desire to be in fellowship with her again.

I’ve tried to implement this by establishing ongoing gestures that communicate my openness and good-will toward her. One of these gestures is simply to kiss her on the cheek or on her forehead every night before we retire to sleep (Ephesians 4:26). Whether she’s angry or whether I’m angry, I try to do this to communicate there’s hope and I’m open to restoring fellowship.

How is God doing that for you? How has He communicated His openness to you and the hope of fellowship with Him? First, have you received His gesture of goodwill? And secondly, how can you do more of that for others?

A Pursuit Greater Than Happiness

My marriage, like anything God creates, is not just for me. It’s for the benefit of those around me: for my children, my nieces & nephews, for my community -for the world. Marriage is the gold standard of relationships and if I cannot maintain the relationship that claims to be based on love, it sets a really low bar for the others.

So, I must fight for love, the hope of marriage. I must fight towards my wife. I must work through our differences. I must bless her and not hurt her. I must help bring to bear her God-given gifts to the world. I must do this, even in seasons of unhappiness, especially in seasons of unhappiness. I have a pursuit greater than happiness.

First posted on Facebook October 15, 2016 11:44:41 AM

When Doing Good Doesn’t Seem To Pay

Frustrated and feeling overlooked, he still flashed a smile to his teammates, congratulating them on their touchdowns. After the game, sensing his dejection I said, “Work hard and keep finding ways to get open. It will come.” I then lauded him for having a good attitude even when things didn’t turn out the way he had hoped. I said, “You did the right thing, son.” He retorted, “What good is it to do the right thing, when it doesn’t get you anywhere?” I replied softly, “I’d take a good conscience over a good moment any day.”

He turned and looked at me for a moment, seeming to consider my words before looking out of the window. I hope he got it.

First posted on Facebook September 23, 2016 at 7:42am