I guess I knew it would happen sooner or later. You know, have one of those experiences you only hear about in Sunday School or seminary lessons—the “what would you do if …” kind. It happened to me during the summer following my high school graduation.
One evening, two friends and I went to see a movie. It was almost midnight when the movie let out. On the way to the parking lot, one of my friends suggested we head to another theater to watch an X-rated movie scheduled to begin about 30 minutes later. My other friend quickly agreed.
I wasn’t tempted to go; I knew I would not go. But I was not sure how I would get out of going. One excuse after another flashed through my mind. None of them sounded convincing to me, and I was sure they would not convince my friends. I thought about saying I wasn’t feeling well—and at that point, I wasn’t! In the end, I simply said I did not want to go.
My friends tried their best to persuade me. Among other things, they said if they took me all the way home, they would be late to the other movie. Thinking fast, I told them I had a friend who lived just around the corner. I said they could take me there.
“What friend?” they asked.
“Just a guy I know,” I answered.
“Who is he, and what’s his name?”
“His name is Bill.” I was sure my friends were not buying this. I cleared my throat and swallowed hard.
They persisted. “Ah, he won’t be up this late. Just come with us,” they said.
“He’ll be up,” I said, hoping I was right.
My friends finally agreed to drive by Bill’s home, and if the lights were on they would stop and let me out. Otherwise, they were taking me with them.
A few minutes later, we arrived at Bill’s house. What a relief! The lights were on. I got out of the car and went to the door. My friends waited to see if someone would answer. I knocked, and after what seemed like an eternity, Bill opened the door. I quickly explained what was happening and asked if I could call my dad and wait inside for him to pick me up. Bill agreed and practically pulled me into the house as I waved my friends on their way.
While we waited for my dad, Bill told me he had decided to watch television for a few minutes before going to bed. “Otherwise,” he said, “I would have been in bed a long time ago.”
It wasn’t long before my dad came to take me home. As we drove, my dad said if I were ever in trouble like that again, he would drive across the state in the middle of the night to get me out of the situation.
That’s probably a pretty good place to end one of these Sunday School stories. But here’s just one more thing. You see, before that night I had never referred to my friend Bill Cantrell by his first name. I had always called him Bishop Cantrell.