I've never been in a major earthquake. Well, I mean, except for the pandemic. Seems like it's shaken just about everyone and everything. One thing earthquakes do, they reveal the buildings that weren't built strong enough to stand the shock. Just like floods reveal the weaknesses in a levee or a dam. Or a flood wall that wasn't built high enough.
It was one of my wife's favorite recipes. She served it to our RHM Team at one time. I always smiled when she served what she called "Javanese dinner" because I knew what was going to happen. She'd tell the guests what's in the dinner and she'd instruct them to go through the line and pile the ingredients on in the order that they're served. And several guests are going to look at one another as if to say, "You've got to be kidding." The ingredients could include rice, chicken, celery, coconut, pineapple, noodles, onions, cheese and a hot broth poured over the whole thing. (Look, let me just quickly say, don't ask me to send the recipe. I don't do recipes. I just eat them. OK, I can't send you a recipe.) Now listen, there was often some skepticism about this menu. They couldn't understand how that would all go together. Then the guests would go through the line, they would risk it and they loved it. I saw the person who had the most doubts about what all those ingredients would be like when you put them all together. I saw them going back for seconds and thirds.
Oh, give me a break. It's not like I'm the only man in the world with this control thing. I mean, it's probably part of our wiring to be in control, huh? Like driving. If you've got four guys traveling together, you usually have four people who want to drive, but that makes the front seat awfully crowded. When a family's going on a long trip, many men make it very clear, "I'll drive." I'm one of those guys who doesn't like to ride very much. I do like to drive. But a while back, I learned a valuable lesson about this "must drive" neurosis. We had an all-day trip ahead of us and I had a full day of preparation for speaking and radio programs. I find that's hard to do with a steering wheel in your hand. Yeah, something the National Safety Council would not be excited about. So my wife drove the whole trip while I buried myself in my work. I got so much done!
It was another one of those unforgettable summers with that amazing group of Native American young people. This particular summer, we had traveled to 14 Indian reservations to tell about the hope that these young men and women found in Jesus Christ. One village we were in was typical of so many - so much violence that we were actually advised not to sleep overnight there with the team; a lot of gang activity, a ton of despair. In most places, we're there for multiple nights, but in this particular village we could only do a single night outreach event. Usually, we're outside on a basketball court where the basketball events, the contemporary Christian music and the powerful Hope Stories of the team members convene and hold the attention of a very large crowd. But this night we had to be in a gym, and when team members began to talk about the Savior who had changed their lives, we had an unusual - and very distracting - exodus from the building that was led by several big gang members.
On a foreboding day in the spring, the tornado warnings were out for this small town in Illinois. Knowing they needed to find a safe place, some folks really ran for shelter into the one basement of a restaurant that was housed in a hundred-year-old stone building. What they didn't factor into their choice was the old sandstone foundation on which that building rested. Well, the tornado roared right through the middle of the town, made a direct hit on that building, and it destroyed everything - the building, the foundation, the basement, and eight people died there that day.
Every time I go to an airport, there are a lot of planes to choose from. Sometimes I walk past dozens of gates and planes to get to one plane at a faraway gate. Sometimes I get on this little "puddle jumper" plane when I'd, of course, rather be onboard a big, sleek aircraft. I don't get on the first plane I see, or the one that's the most convenient to get to, or the one that looks like the most comfortable, or the one that looks best to me. No, I pick which plane I'll board based on one simple factor - its destination.
So this guy was heading from northern Arizona to Phoenix, which is in southern Arizona. He called his wife from Flagstaff. That's a two-hour, 75-mile-an-hour drive. "See you in a couple of hours," he said. So he got on the Interstate and took full advantage of those Western speed limits. He had a lot on his mind that day - apparently not including where he was going. By the time he realized what road he was on, he was almost in California; nowhere near Phoenix! Nowhere near home! The guy? Yeah, that was me. I was lost. I didn't even know it!
Back in the 1950s, Walt Disney went to an amusement park he didn't like very much. It was a mess; there was litter all over the ground, dirty bathrooms. It just felt tacky. So he made up his mind that when he built the theme park he had dreamed of, it would never be a mess. If you've ever been to Disneyland or Disney World, you know he got what he wanted. Any time we've been there, it's been amazingly clean; I mean, considering the millions of people who go through there. I've been told that they have a simple strategy that makes Disney parks clean places. Take care of a mess right away. One day at Disney World I dropped my Coke cup and this guy with mouse ears made a flying leap and caught it before it hit the ground. OK, I'm exaggerating. But it almost feels like that. It really does stay clean there because they just won't let a mess get started.
He's not the youngest motorcycle rider in the pack, but he's got to be one of the most devoted. Take that away from him and you'd be taking away one of the great joys of his life. Problem: he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. And as that condition progresses, he can expect to begin to experience some disorientation, among other things. That's not a good thing for a fellow running around on his motorcycle. So he has installed a global positioning system on his bike which will always show him where he is going and where home is. That way, if one day he's out on his bike and forgets his way home, he'll be able to find his way home no matter where he goes.
My grandson then was three years old and I'd promised to take him out to lunch, and apparently he was looking forward to it. Here's how I know that. He was ready a few minutes early, and I was a few minutes late. As I was about to leave, an email came through with a picture of him that had just been taken. Oh, boy, it broke my heart. It showed the back of our little guy as he sat on the floor in the doorway, looking down the stairs expectantly, propping the door open with one foot. I made record time driving to his house.