Jens Reich was an East German biologist, and a very unlikely revolutionary. He was a leader in that amazing, almost mind-boggling change that happened in Germany decades ago, just as all of the communist empire seemed to be falling apart. His story was told to Newsweek Magazine. He was quoted as saying, "I was always sympathizing with people, and watching, and going to church to talk with others. But I wasn't speaking out."
When there's a primetime news special on TV, you expect it to be about some major breaking world event, or a disaster, or some sensational social issue. A while back I was surprised to see a CBS news special that was just on the subject of loneliness. It was called "On Lonely Street." They were quoted there as saying, "Social scientists are seeing an epidemic of loneliness.
One of our ministry team had just gotten married, and most of our team was there. We had a lot of fun together, and in spite of the fact that I'm really very serious all the time. But, anticipating the bride would do the customary thing of, you know, throwing the bouquet at the reception, I had a special warning for Pam, one of the single young women on our staff. I told her that I had designated two big guys to tie her to her chair when it was time for the bouquet tossing. In case you've missed this little custom, the story is that whoever catches the bride's bouquet will be the next one married. Well, the big guys never materialized and Pam made sure she was front and center for the big moment. The other girls never stood a chance. She played defense with flying elbows; she lunged to make the big catch. It's the first time I've ever known of first-aid being administered at a bouquet toss. All right, I'm exaggerating just a little... but just a little. Pam was not to be denied having the next wedding! By the way, who thought up this custom anyway?
It's always kind of exciting to go to the mailbox. It's depressing however, when most of it is addressed to Occupant, Resident, or it comes with some computer label that calls me Don Hutchcraft. Or it butchers my last name, which is a very "butcherable" name, by the way.
It was a dark night off the Atlantic Coast, and the captain saw a disaster just ahead - a light that was on a collision course with his ship. There wasn't much time to get the other vessel to change course. So he urgently radioed this message: "Move ten degrees north immediately." The answer came back, "Move ten degrees south." This was no time to be playing navigational games! With some growing aggravation, the captain answered back, "I'm a captain! You adjust your course ten degrees north." The reply came back: "I'm a seaman second class! Adjust ten degrees south." Well, at that point, the captain thundered his final word: "I'm a destroyer - adjust your course now!" And the answer came back: "I'm a lighthouse! Adjust your course!"
It started a few years ago with a few pieces of colored cardboard. Our oldest son was about five years old, and I bought him a few baseball cards. Once he hit college, that baseball card collection paid for a lot of things in his life. In fact, other guys saw he knew how to invest in a card that would appreciate quickly and give them a profit. So they asked him if they could give him money to invest for them. Now that boy has become a man and the love for his hobby has been passed down to his son. But here's the thing. My son never had very much money to work with, but he knew how to take a limited amount of it and invest it in what would pay off.
Every time a soldier dies in battle it's a tragedy. It doesn't matter how just or unjust we might think the war is or which side he's on. It's still a tragedy. But if there are degrees of tragic, then there's one kind of battlefield death that seems the most heartbreaking of all. You know what it is. It's called 'friendly fire' - when you accidentally shoot or bomb your own fellow soldiers. There's a famous intimance of that in the Civil War, General Stonewall Jackson was killed accidentally by his own men - "friendly fire." In Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, probably in every modern war, it's always been an awful tragedy when one of your own is brought down by a weapon you fired.
Scotty had just come strolling in my office. He didn't have an appointment, didn't check with my assistant. He really didn't need an appointment. See, he was about 18 months old. Yeah, he just kind of pushed the door open and there he was, and he came in talking and almost never stopped. His mother was visiting our office, and she said, "He's got a great vocabulary." And she was right! He was at that fascinating stage where his vocabulary was exploding!
With my wife growing up in the South, she looked forward to a spring that was getting underway by early or mid-March. With me growing up in the North, I got used to spring beginning a little later than that. And in some places in the North, if you miss the Fourth of July weekend, you might miss summer. But let's stick with spring right now. Some people look for, let's say, the first robin to mark the end of winter. For my wife, it was the daffodils. Those bright yellow flowers were the harbingers of spring for her - as well as a way to mark her early spring birthday. Living in the North, I had to do some really creative florist work to try to get her some birthday daffodils. Of course, it was cheaper than paying for counseling for her, right? But this particular year, she got to pick the first daffodils at Grandma and Grandad's old farmstead. Yeah, back where she grew up. Grandma's been gone for quite a while now, but the flowers that Grandma planted a long time ago? They're still blooming!
I have a ton of respect for lifeguards at the ocean. I mean, first of all, I wish I could swim like they do; they make what I do look like dog paddling for sure. But I have seen them in action. I remember being at the New Jersey shore and watching five lifeguards go to work on a rescue to bring in three children. And I think I have a new appreciation for these guys and girls having talked to my friend, Jim, because he used to be one on the other side of the country; he was a Pacific Ocean lifeguard. He described to me the different kinds of rescues that there are.