Following a Legend

A man found himself carrying out a task he did every month; placing flowers on the grave’s of relatives. One day while stooping over adjusting a geranium on his parent’s grave, he heard the grief of a fellow visitor. Walking cautiously as to not be heard, he found himself at a distance gazing upon a man prostrate on the ground in front of a headstone. The man was literally crying his eyes out. As he got even closer, he was touched by the man’s sob’s and heard him repeating over and over again, “Why did you have to die, oh why did you have to die?”. Gently walking up and placing his hand on the bereaved’s shoulder, he tried to comfort him with the only words that came to his mind.

“You must have really been close.” The distraught man looked up and wiping his eyes said, “No I wasn’t.” The man who came to inquire then asked, “You must have really loved the person then?” Again the man through tears replied, “No I never knew them!” Puzzled he then asked, “Then why are you so overcome with emotion?” He blurted out, “He was my wife’s first husband.”

It is difficult to follow a legend. How can someone walk on water when in comparison to you, you wear concrete shoes? I remember my first day as a pastor an individual who loved the previous pastor shook her finger at me and with an heir of disgust stated, “YOU’LL NEVER FILL HIS SHOES.” Being larger in girth than my predecessor I replied, “Yes, but He’ll NEVER fill my pants!” I could tell by her facial expression that that was not the response she was expecting. As I turned to leave I heard the voice of another member smile and say, “He’ll do”.

Unlike the Hollywood elite, I am not so narcissistic that I’ve convinced myself that there can’t be anyone smarter, better looking, brighter, or more talented men than me. But one thing I do take solace in, I am unique. I have met a lot of people, and I’ve never met one that was just like me. Just ask my family.

A lawyer was just waking up from anesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re beautiful!” and then he fell asleep again. His wife had never heard him say that so she stayed by his side. A couple of minutes later, his eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re cute!” Well, the wife was disappointed because instead of “beautiful,” he used the word “cute.” She asked, “What happened to ‘beautiful’?” His reply was “The drugs are wearing off!”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter what others may think, my wife and my Creator think I am a legend. And I’m cute too, and that’s all that matters!

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Lessons From a Lost Rifle and a Faceless Server

Researchers at Great Basin National Park in January of this year stumbled upon a mystery. No one knows how long a 132-year-old Winchester Model 1873 rifle lay resting at the base of a juniper tree. It was found in a remote part of the park 300 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

All the rangers know at this time, is that the lever-action repeating rifle was manufactured and shipped by Winchester in 1882. An archaeological crew stumbled upon the rusted rifle leaning against the tree during a park survey. One of the team members said, [We were] “…the right people in the right place at the right time.” Imagine, an antique rifle resting against a tree for 132 years out in the open yet not one person noticed it in all that time.

Often as I drive my car I concentrate on the road or the stresses in my life and my wife will interrupt my train of thought by asking, “Did you see the deer in the field? Did you see how beautiful that house was?” Most often my reply is, “Nope, sorry honey, I missed it; I wasn’t paying attention.”

Back when our oldest son was in school in North Carolina, we traveled down there for the weekend to visit him. He wanted to get off campus in the worse way so we accompanied two other couples and their kids and descended on a local pizza joint. Multiple tables had to be pulled together to accommodate our large group of sixteen enthusiastic parents and kids. As we excitedly carried on our conversations, we filled the restaurant with our loud talk and laughter. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed while we were having a grand time, the waitress seemed distracted and distant. She appeared to have that look that she would rather be anywhere else than serving us.

As the others in our party continued their lively conversations, I joined in but kept a watchful eye on our wearied waitress. I didn’t want her to suffer the same fate as the Winchester rifle; blended into the background forgotten.

Our order was complete, and she came to the table and placed the pizzas in front of us with nary a comment. As she filled our empty beverage glasses, I made eye contact with her and said, “You seem so tired and sad tonight, are you okay.” Instantly a flood gate of emotion poured out of her. She blurted out her daddy was dying, then told us as she leaned on her husband for emotional support, he told her she was stifling him and he left her that very day. Her world was crashing down all around her and no one seemed to care. The conversation around the table died down as she shared the pain in her life. As tears began to form in her eyes, she excused herself quickly; no doubt to compose herself. We all asked each other, “What can we do to help her?”

We all had the same idea. When the meal was finished, we pooled our monies together and left her a whopping tip. As we prepared to leave, we thanked her for being such a good waitress. As we filed out to our cars, the waitress must have returned to the table because within seconds, she ran out into the parking lot with tears asking us who we were. My wife typically shy, embraced her and told her we were Christians and wanted her to know that she had not been forgotten by God. She held on to my wife like a drowning person would hold a life preserver. At the beginning of the night, the waitress started brokenhearted and faceless; we were able to restore her faith with a little act of kindness.

In a major newspaper following a large church having taken over a city for a week of spiritual meetings, the editor wrote his assessment of the attendees. “They came to our city with the Ten Commandments in one hand, and a ten dollar bill in the other, and they didn’t break either of them!”

If we don’t start making an effort to find the faceless individuals and offering them hope, we too may suffer the same fate as the Winchester rifle; standing alone, forgotten, and obscure.

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Random Thoughts on Aging

Random Thoughts As We Age…
Author unknown

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller!

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet!

I don’t trip over things, I do random gravity checks!

Old age is coming at a really bad time!

When I was a child I thought Nap Time was a punishment … now, as a grown up, it just feels like a small vacation!

The biggest lie I tell myself is … “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”

Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the friends to post my bail when I finally snap!

I don’t have gray hair. I have “wisdom highlights”. I’m just very wise.

My people skills are just fine. It’s my tolerance to morons that needs work.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would’ve placed them on my knees.

The kids text me “plz” which is shorter than please. I text back “no” which is shorter than “yes”.

I’m going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I’ll do that second week.

I’ve lost my mind and I’m pretty sure my wife took it!

Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just gonna transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Oops! Did I roll my eyes out loud?

Chocolate comes from cocoa which is a tree … that makes it a plant which means … chocolate is Salad !!!

I conclude with THE SENILITY PRAYER :

Grant me the senility to forget the people
I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
the eyesight to tell the difference.

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Dude, You Have a Comma!

I remember listening to the story of an old-timer telling stories how poor he was growing up. He said, “We were so poor we ate cereal with a fork to save milk, or we were so poor, I had a tumbleweed for a pet.” He even stated he was so poor that “a tornado hit his house head-on and did 10,000 dollars worth of improvements.”

For the new generation, we need to define for them what poor is. When I was in college, rich to me was a full tank of gas in my dilapidated car. I laugh at what constitutes poverty today. How can an individual cry being impoverished when they have the latest Smart phone, new car, and $100+ sneakers. You see when I say I have no money, it means I have NO money.

Early on in our marriage, my wife and I lived across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire. The only thing that spared us from a longer 14 mile trek to cross over, was paying a 35-cent toll at a rickety homemade toll booth at the Charlestown Bridge. I can’t count how many times we’d stop the car and search under the seats hoping we could find an errant nickel or dime to get enough money to spare us the longer trip to our desired destination.

So pardon my empathy when one day I was with a friend who went to an ATM to withdraw cash with the words, “I don’t have any money!” When I looked at his receipt I was like, “Dude, YOU HAVE A COMMA. All I ever have is a decimal point! Really?”

I have a member of my extended family that complains all the time they have no money, yet in the past twenty years, they’ve been to countless concerts, bought fancy outdoor grills, cars, and home accessories. The “Good Book” tells me I can’t covet, so I won’t. But don’t tell me how poor you are when three-quarters of my marriage, eating out was defined as scarfing down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a blanket in my back yard.

Maybe we need to ponder what rich is! Let me see, if you have at least two good friends, a loving partner, a car with a full tank of gas and a full refrigerator, then you are more than wealthy. You are radically blessed. When I open our check book this week and see my decimal not a comma, I’ll remember the words my wife quotes often to me from Proverbs 31:10 concerning a good wife (which she is), “She is more precious than rubies.” Then in that case honey, I’m a wealthy, wealthy, man!

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