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.