Well, this is one of the busiest travel days in the year; people packing into airports and airplanes. Maybe not as much this year, but maybe you're still heading out for whoever they like to be with over Thanksgiving. But you know what? A lot of air travelers are having to make that choice again: Do I want the scanner, or do I want the pat down? Yeah! Hum...
I met a fellow, and he said, "Ron, my name is Bill." I guess it was the mood I was in. I said, "Oh no! I already have enough bills in my life." What's wrong with me? Well, maybe you've felt that way. I mean, what I said was probably true for both of us.
Like many children her age, our little granddaughter had 101 tricks to delay going to bed at night: a drink of water, another story, monsters in the closet, whatever! Once she did, she was usually gone for the night. But every once in a while, her parents would be in the living room, suddenly hear this sound, distraught crying. Their little darling just woke up in the dark. She found herself all alone, and it's scary.
Many years ago, our state was America's Wild West. Out of that grew a pretty colorful state history, which I never knew much about before. But after a recent visit to the state capital, I came back with some interesting stories out of our past. I loved the story of the sagging roof on the original State House. The legislators had often been reminded that the roof needed to be replaced before something ugly happened. Well, they never got around to passing a bill to authorize that replacement. (Can you imagine?) And then one day, with the Legislature in full session...you want to guess? The roof finally collapsed on the legislators. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. And the next day, for some reason, (Guess what?) they passed a bill for a new roof; the day after the old one fell on their heads!
I've eaten a few plums in my life, but I never found it particularly inspiring or educational. But one of our team members ate a plum recently and got an insight that I found enlightening. When she bit into that plum, it tasted very sweet. It didn't stay that way. The closer my friend got to the center, the more bitter the plum tasted. She explained to me her simple, but probably accurate, theory about this bittersweet taste experience. She said what the sun has touched is sweet; what the sun hasn't touched is bitter. And I said, "Hum?"
You know, all those headache remedies promise fast relief, of course, but they all actually take time - even the best of them, whatever one that is. I mean, can you imagine someone with a headache and they take two aspirin, and immediately they say, "Nothing happened! My head still hurts. This stuff is bogus!" So they pop three more. In five minutes this person says, "I've still got a headache!" They pop several more.
It was an amazing exhibit - the Titanic exhibit. At that time it had been in a lot of museums in the United States. Actually, what they did was they re-created the Titanic's grand staircase, they got a simulation of one of the ship's cabins, they had artifacts that were retrieved right from the watery grave around the Titanic. And as you enter the exhibit, they would give you this ticket with the name of one of the ship's passengers or crewmen on it. I was one of the crewmen. At the end of the tour there was this large wall. They had two lists of names; a long list and a relatively short list. Next to each name was one of four designations: first class, second class, third class, and crew. But no matter what your class, your name ultimately appeared on one of those two lists, which were under one of two headings: "Saved"..."Lost."
A basketful of eggs and a four-year-old girl. Got any ideas how this might turn out? The little girl was my wife. This little scene played out on the basement stairs of the church her family attended. Her Dad said, "Honey, you should hold Daddy's hand." He wasn't too sure about either his daughter or the eggs she was carrying. As she grabbed onto the stair railing with one hand and gripped the handle of the basket with the other hand, she said, "I'm okay, Daddy." (These are first-borns. Yeah, I know about this.) In an instant, she was tumbling down the steps, head over heels. She had some minor "boo-boos." The eggs - prematurely scrambled.
When disaster as massive as the December 2004 tsunami hits our planet, you know there are going to be dramatic stories coming from it for years to come; the stories of people who survived, and those who didn't. There was this Austrian man who was enjoying a day at the beach in Thailand when he saw the water suddenly being sucked out to sea, virtually emptying the shore right in front of him. He recently had seen a show on the Discovery Channel about tsunamis, and as a result, he knew what was coming next. As he ran up the beach, he yelled as loud as he could, "Run for your life!" knowing full well that in seconds the full fury of a tsunami would hit anyone who was on that beach. He said he remembers one German lady in her beach chair who said, "I think I'll just sit here and watch." He said to the reporter interviewing him, "She didn't move." Then as he hung his head, he choked and he said, "She's dead."
It was a major youth event I was speaking at, and they had several very popular contemporary Christian bands there. And teenagers love to get close to their heroes, even to find a way to get backstage or to their ready room. Let me assure you, speakers have no such problem. It's the bands they want to meet. Anyway, the organizers had to think through security - like who would be allowed to go into which area. Well, because I was a speaker, I wore one of those coveted trophies at any stage event. I had the all-access pass. Security people would glance at those door-opening words "all access" and they'd wave me right through. You can go anywhere and everywhere with one of those things!