Kids count the days. Teachers count the days. Principals count the days. Until everybody can shout those happiest of all words, "School's out!" Police cars sport bumper stickers that warn drivers to be extra careful. Same reason: "School's out." And graduations? Those are real milestones because you don't ever have to go back to that school if you don't want to! I hate to rain on anybody's parade, but that "school's out" thing is actually a myth. Or at least it should be.
When you've passed thousands of cars on the Interstate, you've seen a whole lot of bumper stickers - most of which you've forgotten. But there's one I saw I've never forgotten. It was just five little words - words which weren't even that original. But as I passed that particular car, I glanced inside at the passengers, and suddenly the bumper sticker took on great meaning. A mother was driving and she had her child in the back seat. It was a little boy, who even with a quick glance, I could see had some severe mental handicaps. You know, this lady had a very challenging life, and I knew how she was handling it because the bumper sticker told me. It simply said, "One day at a time."
I was there the day my son's dream died. Since he'd been little, playing big-time football had been his dream. If, as they say, biology is destiny, and him being my son, he was not destined to have a football player's size by any means. But he really worked at it, he spent hours in the gym, bulking up, practicing with focus and intensity. And honestly, he was very good at football - until the day he went down in a driving drill with a badly injured knee. He'd torn his anterior cruciate ligament - an injury dreaded by anyone in sports. One of the top sports med doctors in our area examined our son's knee - and then he said those words that sounded like a death sentence to our boy, "You'll never play football again."
So, how much would you pay for a piece of cardboard; like $100, $500, $2,000? Actually, people do it all the time, if that cardboard is a valuable baseball card. My sons, over the years, well they profited from collecting that cardboard strategically. They tried to anticipate rookies who would be stars and they bought those cards before there was much demand. Later, when lots of people wanted those cards and there weren't many to be found, our guys cleaned up. Now, they didn't have any of those cards that sold for thousands, because they're most valuable for one reason. There just aren't many of them. You have something like that.
Our sons really enjoyed being uncles for the first time some years ago. Their sister was kind enough to give them two boys to call them uncle. The youngest grandson at the time was four years old and he really enjoyed how his uncles played with him. They kept finding quarters in his nose or his ear. (You know the old magic trick.) Now, before I receive emails about this, rest assured that he had been carefully taught not to put anything in his nose or ear. The grandson that is, not my sons. But he loved it when his uncles pretended they found money there.
You know, occasionally I see something enlightening in a little comic strip called "Family Circus." For example, there was this one where the house is a total disaster, and Mom walks in. The look on her face tells you that Mt. Vesuvius is about to blow. She has only one question, "Who did this?" Dad and the children are all innocent, of course. Apparently, the house must have just exploded and made itself a mess. But when Mom presses her question for who should be held responsible, one of the kids cleverly responds: "It was the ghost of 'not me'!"
The lion is supposed to be the king of beasts. If there was a king of birds, I think it would have to be the eagle. I remember one point in our Native American ministry when we had arrived on this reservation. And as we were praying and preparing for our outreach there, someone pointed up toward the sky and said, "Look!" It was an eagle, soaring above our heads. We all felt as if God had sent that majestic bird to virtually affirm His care for us. It's hard not to be inspired watching an eagle soar. But if it were up to baby eagles, they probably never would. They love the softness of the eagle nest - until one day, when they're out walking around the nest, and Mother Eagle starts pulling the fur and the foliage out of the nest, leaving a bed of exposed sticks and stones. Suddenly, that comfy little nest isn't so comfy anymore. At that point, Mamma Eagle manages to get that eaglet out of the nest, onto her back, and into the sky. I'm sure that eaglet can't imagine just hanging out there in the sky all by himself, but that's what he was born for. He wasn't made for staying in a cozy nest, and neither are you. He was made to touch the sky, and so are you.
My wife had gotten a really nice wedding gift for our friend. This beautiful little serving dish and some cut glass and some silver. One of those things people get only at their wedding, usually. Well, here's the problem. The girl had been married for four years, and four years later, well, we found the present. Yeah, we put it behind a chair to get it out of the way one day, and we found it four years later. We had planned to have our daughter take it to the wedding for us. Well, we totally missed the time that you should give a gift like that.
Well, it's got to be the Christmas season! You know, you keep seeing the UPS trucks going up and down like a fleet, and those drivers are busy! They must collapse into bed at night after those long, long hours they work. But their job could be worse. I mean, what if they had to shop for all those packages, and buy them, and package them and deliver them? Well, fortunately it's not up to the UPS guy to create the package; he's just got to deliver it. It's kind of like you and me.
It was the night before Thanksgiving. Boy, the Hutchcraft house was a busy place! We were cleaning house like crazy. Everybody - I mean all five of us cleaning house. We were decorating the house for the holiday weekend, hustling around getting ready to go get Grandma at the airport, a couple of folks in the kitchen working on one of the elements of our dinner tomorrow, including my mincemeat pie. I'm the only one who will eat it. Isn't that wonderful?