A Damaged Diamond

(The story that inspired the song)

“A Damaged Diamond” was written in memory of our friend, Nancy Gayle Thompson, who went home to be with the Lord on October 20, 2006. A few months after she passed away, her husband awoke early one morning and was drinking his cup of coffee when he got the urge to write a story. Being that he is not a writer, he tried to brush it off, but God was persistent. So he sat down at the kitchen table and wrote this story. That same night, when my wife called to check on him, he read her the story. A few days later, my wife and I had just come home from church, and she was preparing our lunch. I picked up the guitar and started playing a tune that had been in my head all morning. She called out to me and wanted to know if that was a song that I had heard on the gospel station. I told her no, that it “just came out of my head” this morning and that I was thinking of writing a song about Nancy. She got all excited and said we’d have to write one about “A Damaged Diamond”. So, here is the story that inspired the song:

 

 A DAMAGED DIAMOND

 One beautiful morning in Heaven, the Lord and St. Paul, the Apostle, were sitting under a large tree by a stream enjoying the great beauty that surrounded them. The Lord looked over at Paul; and when their eyes met, he said to him, “Paul, one of my finest diamonds, called Nancy, is down there; and she has been badly damaged by the world. I think it’s time to see about getting her fixed up so that I can bring her back to us. I don’t want to bring her back in her present condition. She has given up all hope, and I’m finding out that she is on the verge of taking her own life. I cannot let this happen. This is something that I cannot allow.”

Paul looked up into the Lord’s sad eyes and asked, “Lord, what has happened to one of your best diamonds?” “As you well know, Paul, Satan still rules the world below, for now; and he has killed off most all of her family already”, the Lord replied. “Also, her father ran off with another woman when she was just a teenager, and her poor mother had quite a struggle to support her and her older brother.” “Yes, Lord”, said Paul, “but didn’t you give her a good husband on February 14, 1970 to take care of her and make her happy?” “That is so, Paul”, replied the Lord. “However, Satan gave her husband a bad case of Alzheimer’s at the very early age of 41 and caused her a tremendous burden taking care of him in that condition. As if this were not enough, in a short period of time her father, step-father, brother and finally her husband also died; basically her entire family, except her mother of whom she was quite close to. Not yet satisfied, Satan decided to give Nancy breast cancer on top all the rest of her agony. This is when she just gave up on life, and I fear she might drink herself to death or possibly even worse, if you know what I’m getting at. I know she wants to die, but it’s not in my plan; and I am in control even if the world doesn’t believe it yet”, declared the Lord emphatically. “I will let Satan do his evil for a time until I deal with him for good.”

“Well, then, what is your plan for her, Lord?” asked Paul. “I am considering a man down there named after the apple of my eye, King David”, said the Lord. Paul looked at the Lord with a questioned look on his face. “Lord, haven’t you given him every advantage? He has a wonderful family and great parents who will be there for many years. His whole family has been greatly blessed; however, he shows little appreciation. How can he help? I don’t feel that he is worthy of such a task. He has not shown himself to be a good example of a Christian so far.” The Lord raised his hand to stop Paul. “Paul, he at one time was very much into the Scriptures and admittedly has backslidden greatly, but he still loves me”, replied the Lord. “Also he likes to fix things, so maybe he can fix my precious diamond if I give him the chance.” “I don’t know, Lord”, replied Paul. “Maybe you should seek another candidate. This is too serious a task to be taken lightly. How about a nice single preacher, maybe someone more qualified?” “Well, Paul”, says the Lord, “he has had some misery in his life, also, and he keeps telling me in his prayers that he can’t go on either. Possibly there can be a double healing if we choose him, even if you can’t agree with my choice.” “Lord, you are all wise and knowing, so if you think he is a good choice, who am I to question you?” said Paul. “Well, Paul, I am going to arrange a meeting of these two at a dance class in Akron, Ohio; and I will give her into his care for 18 years, 4 months, and six days; and then I will end my loan of her to him and bring my diamond home to heaven.”

Then Paul said, “Lord, it will totally break his heart to enjoy one of your greatest diamonds for such a short time. He will no doubt be totally devastated.” The Lord paused and looked at Paul’s kind face and said softly, “Paul, you know I will give him my grace and love. He will then be able to get through his grief with faith and dignity.” Paul was silent for a while, and the Lord looked at him a long time and asked, “Paul, you obviously have something on your mind. Please share your thoughts with me.” “Forgive me, Lord”, said Paul, “I know you are full of wisdom, but I am still not convinced of your choice of David for this rare gift. You don’t create too many of these cherished diamonds, and I still am not convinced that you want to loan this treasure to a man such as this. Is it not possible that he could damage her even more? How many times has he let you down, Lord? Too many to count! Do you think he deserves this?” “Of course not”, said the Lord strongly. “None of my people deserve my grace and love; but as you well know, Paul, I love them deeply in spite of their grievous faults.”

So, as the Lord arranged, on the 14th of June, 1988, David met the damaged diamond called Nancy (which he liked to call “Sweetie”) at the dance studio in Akron, Ohio. The first year or so was pretty rough; but after a time, life got better and better. There were a few setbacks such as the death of her mother from brain cancer. She died in their home on March 13, 1996. But generally speaking, life was great, and these two people grew in love and devotion. The damage to them both eventually healed. Nancy was a huge blessing to all who knew her.

Eighteen years after their conversation by the stream in Heaven, Paul said to the Lord, “It looks like your damaged diamond has been restored to her original brilliance as you had planned for her.” “Yes, indeed”, said the Lord, “but sadly for David, I must soon call her home. He will someday understand that she was a gift of a loan, but a loan nonetheless. Soon I will call him home, too; and he can share eternity with her, but for now he will need a lot of extra love and grace to understand. I gave him a small dog which will supply a little love that he misses, and he will also receive a great amount of love from me and his friends and loved ones there on Earth.”

Thus David received the greatest gift of his life along with many, many great gifts which he received from the Lord. And the Lord took back one of his finest diamonds to shine forever in His kingdom in the Heavens.

 

All’s well, 

David S. Howdyshell