Sometimes I think my schedule looks like an episode of Mission Impossible. Some years ago, I was speaking for the Billy Graham Crusade Committee for two pre-crusade leadership rallies. They were in two completely different locations on the same Saturday morning. One was in the heart of Philadelphia and one was in an outlying suburb. They were scheduled back-to-back, and we had to make a very flying trip when I finished speaking in the city to get to the suburbs.
Back in the good old days my wife and I would go camping with our kids when they were young. We did some camping after they were grown up too. But it was actually easier without the kids. You know the routine. We'd get the three little Hutchcrafts ready for bed, make sure no bears were going to eat them during the night, and then we would snap all the snaps and tuck them into their sleeping bags, tied up all the flaps and zipped all the zippers on the tent door. Finally, able to settle into our sleeping bags, having found the most comfortable piece of ground underneath that we could.
When our daughter got married there was one song I told her I did not want to hear at the wedding. You know, "Where is that little girl I carried, where is that little boy at play?" Okay, I'm not going to sing it for you, but you know the song. Well, the time really did fly, like the song says, "Sunrise, sunset, swiftly pass the years." It's a song that taps into some very deep feelings about the mystery of life, and I don't think I could have handled it at my daughter's wedding. It points out how that parade of Saturdays and Tuesdays and Thursdays just sort of seem to flow together into years-so just yesterday my daughter is a bouncy little girl cuddling on my lap. And then she's a poised bride on the arm of her new husband. But that song also captures the real practical essence of this massive entity we call "my life"- it boils down to those bite-size chunks called days. It's almost as if we die each night when we hit the bed and we get resurrected each new morning to a fresh new day.
There he was in the homes of some ten million Americans every night - NBC's TV news anchorman. The voice that millions trust, or did trust. The most experienced, most watched anchorman in the country facing the worst possible question, "Can we believe him?"
Jenny's only two years old, but she's already teaching her parents. She often announces, "Let's pray." She doesn't always pick her times real well. Dad might be studying or Mom might be involved in her housework or trying to get ready for something. That doesn't stop Jenny from saying, "Let's pray." She grabs your hand, closes her eyes and she expects you to do the same. She's fully expecting Mom or Dad to drop whatever they're doing. Mom told me, "I don't dare tell Jenny, 'Oh, later honey, I'm too busy now.'" Jenny's only two, but you know what? I think she's got the right idea.
Someone said to me, "Don't forget to tell your wife!" I said, "Wait a minute. I'd better write it down. I'm Mr. No Gig." They looked at me kind of funny. See, computers have gigabytes of memory. And I think sometimes I've reached mine, so I am like "Mr. No Gig". Look, I'm too young to be losing my memory. I think I've just used it up, that's all. There's not room to put anything else in there.
OK, here's a quick sports quiz: How many men on a football team? Okay, I see that hand. Eleven? Yes, that's right! If it's the home team with the support of their fans on their field, someone said there are twelve players on the team. Oh, you won't find the twelfth man anywhere on the field. It's all those noisy fans cheering for the home team and trying to demoralize the opponent. In sports, those fans are literally called the twelfth man. There's one big reason at least why teams play to have the best season record so they can play at home during the playoffs. The twelfth man is a big part of that home field advantage. Those supporters never go on the field, but their influence; it helps every man there.
Smokey the Bear, I've always liked that guy. And he's taught me there's one thing you're supposed to do with forest fires - prevent them. So it bothered me a little when I read about a fire that happened in the boundary waters area of Northern Minnesota. It was a slow-moving fire and it burned through about 3,000 acres of canoe country. Now, here's what was unsettling: the rangers did nothing to fight it. They didn't even try. In fact, they called it friendly fire. Someone said in the paper, "The fire is doing its job. This is a prescribed natural fire."
You can feel it coming maybe five minutes before the TV program ends. They don't have enough time to get the hero out of this predicament, and you know those dreaded three words are about to appear on your screen; To Be Continued. You have a whole week to worry about how they're possibly going to rescue Dudley Do-right, or whatever his name is. If it's the end of the season you might have to wait until the whole beginning of the next season to see what happens. Of course, you can be sure, usually, that he will get out of it because, well, usually the hero always does.
I'm pretty easily amazed by technology, so I am totally amazed by my wife's camera. She's a great photographer. You can take the same camera and get two totally different views, just by using two different lenses. She taught me this. For example, we took a lot of pictures at our local football games, because I worked with the team there. And when you put on the wide angle lens, you can see the entire field through that camera. Amazing! Now, when you change that to say a zoom lens, it really magnifies things. You can fill that camera's view with just one face. It amazes me to see how it can go from the big picture to some small, little detail.