Everywhere I've gone today, the flags are at half-staff. A Supreme Court Justice has died. And that's a big deal.

Nine judges. Who never stand for election. They're on the Court until they die, retire or are impeached.

They hold so many lives in their hands as the final word on the most important, most contentious legal issues of the day. What they decide will long outlive them and the President who appointed them.

    This Sunday, Broncos and Panthers will be fighting it out.

    And some 100 million Americans will be watching it happen at Super Bowl 50. Something like one out of three Americans.

    They'll watch high-rolling, 30-second commercials that cost about 4.5 million dollars each. And gobble an estimated 1.3 billion chicken wings! On the second-largest eating day of the year.

      I was expecting a great story in the record-crushing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" blockbuster.

      I wasn't expecting to find a mirror reflecting the lives of so many people I've known.

        The news was awful. Then, I heard those three life-saving words that sounded strangely familiar.

        A guns-blazing attack on a San Bernardino, California "holiday party." Fourteen dead, 21 wounded.

        One of the wounded was Denise Peraza. But for the heroism of coworker Shannon Johnson, she would probably have been one of the fatalities.

          "Active shooter in Colorado Springs." When I got the news alert, I turned to a news channel right away. I have friends in that city.

          After a violent five-hour siege, the gunman surrendered. And the tragic count of dead and wounded began to become clear. But so did the heroism in the middle of the fear and the violence.

            If I was back in elementary school, and they asked me to write a composition on "My Summer," I'd have one word on the paper. Amazing.

            Because I spent it on Indian reservations with a team of 60 Native American young people. Who stood on rez basketball courts, pouring out their Hope Story of how Jesus has rescued them. I had a front row seat on God's awesomeness.

              "There are five Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John - and the Christian. Most people never read the first four."

              That observation, made long ago, couldn't be more true today.

              If our world's getting darker, then something must be wrong with what folks are "reading." In the Christians - the messengers - they know (that was last time). And with their Message. Actually, with the way they represent it.

                Boom. Suddenly all the lights went out in the conference center where we were staying. Just as we were all making our way out of our rooms and down the long hallway to breakfast.

                The hallway was longer than usual that morning. Totally dark. Turns out the entire region had experienced a power failure. Because a squirrel got into a relay station and gnawed through a cable. Fried squirrel. Lights out.

                  Memorial Day's different when you're a veteran or a loved one of someone who died for America's freedom.

                  Every day is Memorial Day. Because freedom's price has a name, a face, an empty chair at the table.

                  This Memorial Day I've heard some veterans, some families asking a haunting question. It's embodied in a recent statement from one combat veteran, former Navy Seal, and current TV commentator. He said:

                    gracie

                    It caught me off guard.

                    I was watching an interview with a teenager who was an eyewitness in last week's school stabbing rampage. Actually, she was more than an eyewitness. She was almost a victim.

                    Almost.

                                  

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