Several years ago our whole family had to go for blood tests - the doctor said it was time to check everyone's cholesterol. Which means needles. Which meant one of our sons decided to leave us for a little while. He had just had some blood drawn, and he said, "I'm feeling a little weak." Yup. He proceeded to pass out. Now he might have been the strongest person in our family - but each person's reaction is different to this little exercise. A few moments later he came to and muttered that famous question, "What happened?" Then he passed out again. Later, he told us what he remembered from opening his eyes that first time - his mother's concerned face - and, in his words, "seeing this real old nurse." It's funny how strong those just-waking-up impressions are.
I guess those TV talk shows must run out of material sometimes. You can tell they're desperate. I hardly ever see them, but one day not long ago I turned on some talk show that demonstrates my point. They had four women on the show who were - lets say, average looking. But they sent them backstage for a while to get what's called a makeover. That woman puts herself into someone else's hands - someone who can skillfully change her eye makeup, her coloring, her lipstick, her hairstyle, her wardrobe. And voila - out comes this no-longer-just-average-looking person. The difference can be amazing. Funniest thing, though - I've never heard of them giving a man a makeover. Although some of us could really use one.
When Walt Disney animated the story of Snow White, he created seven memorable - if short - characters - the Seven Dwarfs. Yes, you can be short and memorable. No, I'm not going to ask you to name all seven dwarfs - I don't think I can. But I can remember that little song they sang on the way to work. Now, they didn't exactly work in a climate-controlled office building. They worked in a mine all day. But each day, they would merrily march off to their job singing, "Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go." What a great way to approach your work each day.
Anyone who can tackle their responsibilities with a song is no dwarf. He or she is a giant!
I will never forget my Grandmother Irene. She was one funny lady. She laughed a lot, she gave me money a lot, she was the life of the party. Some people in our family think she was a big influence on my personality. That's not a very nice thing to say about a woman who is no longer here to defend herself. But there's no doubt my grandmother had a great impact on my life. But I almost never got to meet her. She had a serious bout with cancer before I was born.
I've ridden with a lot of people in a lot of elevators - but none quite as unusual as the young man I met there a few years ago. Actually, he wasn't unusual - what he carried was - a wadded up tuxedo and wedding gown. He must have noticed the bemused look on my face. As the elevator door closed in front of us, he smiled and said, "Last night was a life-changing experience." Pretty perceptive for a newly-married man. Then he added, "Probably more than I know." He's got that right.
It was another crazy day in my life of crazy days. I was speaking in downtown Philadelphia early in the morning and then out in the suburbs later in the morning. The Billy Graham team members had organized all this had arranged for the committee chairman to lead us from one meeting to another. The only way we could make both meetings was to race out of Meeting 1 and take the fastest possible route to Meeting 2. We got behind the chairman and began what turned out to be a modern version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. He really knew how to get around that city - including skillful maneuvering in and out of lanes. We had only one hope of getting to our goal - staying very close to the man who was leading us.
When you get into Missouri and Arkansas, you are entering cave country. And the tourist signs prove it, believe me. You could spend an entire vacation just touring caverns, using your imagination to see how that stalagmite looks like Snoopy or an Indian chief. As we were roaring down the Interstate one chilly day, we saw this sign that said, "Fantastic Caverns - a warm 60 degrees." In winter, 60 sounds pretty warm, I guess. What do you bet they change the sign in the summer. "Fantastic Caverns - a cool 60 degrees." And in summer, 60 degrees sounds pretty cool. Interesting - the seasons change; the cave never does.
It's possible you only know me by radio. And that's a good way to know me - you don't have to look at me and you can turn it off. But when you know someone by radio, you only know their voice - it's sort of a one-dimensional relationship. And it's always amusing when people meet me and see how the guy with the voice looks - it's almost never what they expected. And it's almost always disappointing, I think. Now if I were on TV, you'd know me two-dimensionally. I enjoy meeting listeners because we can shake hands, look each other in the eye, interact. When you meet someone you've only seen or heard before, you've got a 3-D - three-dimensional relationship. That's the best kind.
One of the men from our Team stopped me the other day and said, "Have you been down to the men's room lately?" That's not usually something we discuss - so I was anxious to find out why he wanted to know. "I walked in and smelled this beautiful aroma." Well, I had to agree that we wouldn't normally associate a public rest room with a beautiful aroma. He went on to say, "When I got back to my office, it had that same beautiful aroma." And what was the explanation for this spreading fragrance? Clarene, the wonderful volunteer who cleans our offices every week, had been doing her scrubbing and spraying. And though we didn't see her in any of those rooms that day, she left that great aroma wherever she had been.
I was speaking at a winter conference in Canada - and the word cold took on a whole new meaning to me. The temperature was minus-40 Fahrenheit - literally the coldest temperature I had ever experienced. When I walked in the room, people stood and sang, "Freeze a jolly good fellow." I really don't like to wear hats or hoods, but I learned to do it that weekend. One Canadian teenager told me he had been outside on his farm, in this cold, for 30 seconds and his ear literally froze - and part of it broke off. That is cold. I had about a five-minute walk ahead of me - believe me I had my parka hood on! I didn't realize you can do permanent damage in no time.