A Friend Who Remains – A Tribute to Gordon Glynn
“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With…friends, I still can recall…
In My Life- John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Life can bite hard sometimes, and no one knows this better than my friend, Gordon “G” Glynn.
The places Gordon has been on his journey “had so many moments,” as the classic Beatles song goes, most of which were not good ones. He had spent much of his life as an addict—in and out of prison, living on the street and leaving behind a trail of regrets, including a damaged body, a “fried mind” and emotional pain as deep as any single soul could contain.
I know because I had once been there myself. As a young man growing up in Central California, I was heavy into the drug scene and, like Gordon, had spent a few unfortunate stints in prison.
But God gives us many opportunities. In 2017, I met Gordon at the Good News Rescue Mission where they pass out fresh opportunities like candy. I was looking for an apprentice at my plumbing business, Modern Plumbing. At that point, I just needed a guy who could dig a hole, crawl under a house, or hold a wrench. The Mission’s then-kitchen manager and all-around good guy named Danny McAllister, introduced me to Gordon who at that point was in the fifth phase of the New Life Recovery program. He was almost done, but not yet sure of what he was going to do.
Immediately, I could see that Gordon was a dude that was ready to work hard. You see, I can always tell within a few minutes of meeting someone if they’re ready to put some grease into it, and by that I mean they are serious about making something of their life. And they’re willing to work hard to get there.
Well, Gordon said yes to my offer and man, he “put to it,” meaning he surpassed his coworkers in a very short amount of time in every area. We were so proud of him; we couldn’t believe how fast he caught on. Seems like he was a plumber and never even knew it!
We did many jobs together and I spent a lot of time with him. It was clear from the git go he was striving to make something of himself. But I could also see that it wasn’t out of selfish ambition but for the purpose his Creator instilled in him. And believe me, that’s rare.
During this time, as I was teaching Gordon about the business, we’d have long conversations about our time spent in this earthly realm and the life we could look forward to in the next. We knew we were both enlisted in God’s army on this planet and had committed our lives to sharing the good news of the Gospel—which we did, day in and day out. As we were snaking toilets and installing plumbing fixtures, we were simultaneously perfecting our faith.
Work was our proving ground. When we had to dig a hole, we would work as unto the Lord; when we were wet and cold, we would worked as unto the Lord; when we absolutely did not want to do another 12-hr shift, we’d work as unto the Lord.
We practiced what we learned right there in the workplace.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon said. But Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, has His plans, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that His plans are far above ours. One of those plans for Gordon was a gift in the form of a beautiful young lady named Bree. My friend took his shot, missed it royally at first, but then won his “fair maid.” Our ways parted a little as the first bloom of love consumed his time. I was happy for him.
Before long, Gordon had the opportunity to step out on his own as a plumber. He took his time and studied the code book, took the classes, and got his license as a plumbing contractor. And voila!…Glynn’s Plumbing Service was born. It soon became a well-respected, “get ‘er done” company and I couldn’t be prouder. Again, I was happy for him.We collaborate sometimes and I still see that drive he first had—it has never waned. It makes me smile sometimes when I think of our joking around together in those early days. We still do that today.
God is very present in Gordon and Bree’s life. They are a joy to be around. We see each other regularly and often reflect at what life has thrown at us and how He brought us together—way beyond a mentor and apprentice relationship. Gordon has shown me how when a person is dedicated, God will perform miracles through, and on behalf of, the most lowly of us.
So, here’s what I would tell you—what I have learned from Gordon, the guy who was once a “rolling stone with no direction home.” When you’re tired of always doing it “my way” and need a helping hand, do as “G” did and ASK God. Trust me, if you’re sincere, God will answer. “You have not because you ask not,” Jesus tells us in James 4:2 and that is so, so true.
What Gordon has learned, and is still learning—as am I—is to lean in and pay attention because He speaks in different ways at different times. Sometimes He’s that “still quiet voice” but other times, when you’re in desperate need, God will no longer whisper, but rather YELL at you by orchestrating circumstances so you just can’t but help but get the message. Being sent to the Mission…that was God yelling at Gordon. “This is ME! God declared. “So put your trust in Me and I’ll make a way where there seems no way.”
And the “whisper”? Well, that came afterwards, when my friend had to do the hard stuff of recovery…one step at a time, day in and day out. But God kept speaking, and Gordon kept following—never losing hope that the “good work He had begun in him He would be faithful to complete until the day of Christ Jesus.” It’s a truth that both Gordon and I fix our hope upon.
So far, so good, my friend. I’m proud of you. Keep on trucking and following hard after God.