In Austin, my friend, Jordan, invited me to visit Dave, a man who had renounced the world to live a spiritual life in the forest. I did not want to visit because I was feeling lazy. What did I have to learn from this hermit in the woods? But something was telling me to go. So we drove 45 minutes out of Austin into a remote area and entered a long dirt driveway where we stepped out of the van and met Dave. He appeared to be in his 70's, long hair and beard, thin, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts. Very calm demeanor. He drove us in his truck onto the wooded property and found ourselves at a lake. He had erected a few tents by the lake - one of them for his spiritual books (his library), one of them for supplies, and one of them for his home. He had also planted a fine garden. We sat on chairs on a deck on the edge of the lake, and he served us both a hot cup of tea. Then he began to tell the story of Ricky.
For many years, Dave had been going to the nearby prison to talk to the prisoners about spirituality. He did not get paid for these gatherings. He went as a service to the prisoners. He went as a service to God. Every week, he met with a group of eight men who were quite interested in learning about spirituality. Ricky was one of those men. Where ever Ricky went, he would tell the other prisoners about Dave's meetings. Soon there was a waiting list just to get into the class. One time, the group chanted the Hare Krishna mantra for 45 minutes, and after everyone had stopped, Ricky kept going for a few minutes longer. Ricky helped out around the prison, and one lady heard his voice. She asked him to sing at the weekly service in front of the other men. He agreed and sang with a lovely voice. He sang about God. People were very impressed with his voice, but Ricky never said a word about his talent. It did not seem to cross his mind. He lived in a different world beyond the normal man.
Recently Ricky passed away. After Ricky's death, a CD was sent to Dave that contained Ricky's gospel songs. Dave played a song from that CD for me and Jordan. It was praising Jesus. My eyes moistened at the sound of his voice. The sound rang true - full of love for the Lord. Ricky had not said a word about his music. He lived his life for God...