I have a surprisingly rare and vivid memory of my Dad holding me in his arms at a funeral visitation. I also remember him regularly rubbing my back to get me to sleep. He would stop, thinking I was asleep, but then I would utter a one-word request. “More!”
True confession: I never remember the outlines of sermons I hear! Worse yet, I probably couldn’t tell you much about the sermon if you asked me the next day, especially if it had several points. However, more times than not, a single comment will park in my overly crowded little brain. This blog is about one of those comments from a couple of months ago.
I had stopped at a Chic-fil-A. I chose a high top table by the window. In front of me was a younger man with what looked to be a journal lying beside him. I have journaled for the last year and a half and thought about asking him if he journaled, but I didn’t. That may have been too personal, like asking about someone’s age or weight.
I had a feeling that Sue was going to die weeks before God took her home. I was burnt-out and had determined that I would take a long trip after she passed. I would drive to visit my aunt in Florida, an uncle in Mississippi, and then slowly make my way to the northwest to visit a friend who owns a guest ranch in Idaho. I would return when I was ready.
As I begin what will be my last blog of 2018, I am listening to Christmas music on iHeartRadio. Elvis is singing “Silver Bells.” I wish life could always be as happy and peaceful as our holiday songs proclaim. Today is Saturday, December 22, 2018. My week has reminded me that trying to be merry can be a struggle for many.
A few weeks ago I was privileged to see the Gaither Vocal Band Homecoming Reunion. The entire evening was wonderful! One of the many highlights was hearing Mark Lowry sing “Mary Did You Know?” Since that evening I have been thinking about how drastically Mary’s life changed after Gabriel’s announcement that she was highly favored by God.
The question I am about to ask is going to sound unusual, but please stick with me. If you could view yourself as others view you, what would you see? I’m not talking about your physical appearance. I’m talking about the person you are. What adjectives would you use to describe yourself? Stop and think for a minute.
When I was just a scared little boy afraid to go up that dark unlit stairway to my bedroom each night, I had no concept of life beyond that moment or of the man, husband, father, and grandfather I would become. Many nights my dad would lie beside me and rub my back until the fears of the night faded into peaceful rest. All of that now seems a lifetime ago.
“How many of you here today want to grow old and spend your final days in a care home?” As expected, not a single hand was raised. The attendees at the Greenville chapter of the Christian Chamber of Commerce are not unlike all of us. We want life to meet us on our terms, and strokes are not in our life plan.
I am at peace sitting in a rocking chair at Grandad’s Apples in Hendersonville, NC. The view is magnificent. I just finished eating a warm piece of apple pie, and I am sipping hot apple cider. An apple orchard is to my left. Pumpkins, a children’s play area, and a corn maze are all to my right. The sky is blue with fluffy white clouds that seem to meet the mountaintops in the distance, and the temperature is perfect. This is nice and is just what I needed today!
Note: The following is the most pointed blog I have written. I pray that my words will not offend but will bless and inspire.
Love is or it isn’t. There is no middle ground. Love is not easily defined, nor can it be bought, touched, held, or placed into a beautifully wrapped package. Love is abstract, tender, and tolerant.
I was sitting at a high top table at a private resort. The view to my right was a golf course with the backdrop of long needle pines. My room was spacious and the bathroom was amazing. I was there for a board meeting for another ministry. One of the board members is a member of the private resort and graciously provided the venue for our meeting. I am not accustomed to luxury, but I must admit it was very nice.
Growing up in a small town in a simpler day and time gave me experiences that are rare these days: customer service, appreciation, and a willingness to earn the customer’s respect and future business. Two of the biggest reasons for the lack of great customer service are success and leadership failure.
I had an expiring coupon for a free sandwich, so I stopped into the Chic-fil-A in Easley, SC. I placed my order and was given a receipt and my unsweet tea. Before I even reached the condiment counter a female employee came to me with my order and said, “I can take this to your seat if you would like me to.”