Your Relationships

Kissimmee, Florida is right in the middle of some of Florida's most exciting tourist attractions - so it's usually associated with happy times. But in February of '98 the headlines were about tragedy in Kissimmee, with 38 people killed in the deadliest tornado outbreak in the state's history. In its lead front page story, USA Today told about one couple who cowered in horror, it says, "as their house literally broke apart around them. The garage door blew open and tore away. The door into the kitchen opened, and the wind sucked like a vacuum cleaner, pulling their five-year-old daughter, Elissa, away. Her dad said, 'She was horizontal, and my wife was holding onto her legs. There was all this glass and everything started to disappear, all the furniture, the insides of the walls. If my wife had let go of Elissa, we wouldn't have been able to find her.' But Judy's grip held. And in a few moments, the tornado had passed and Elissa was safe in her arms."

 

Here's what my airline ticket said - Friday afternoon Ron will fly from Newark to Houston - and then an hour later, he will take a connecting flight from Houston to Guadalajara, Mexico. So much for what the ticket said. I was on my way to be with the Director of our radio outreach to Latin American young people. But little did any of us know that my flight would be delayed for a last-minute repair. A lot of passengers were concerned because many of us had connecting flights in Houston - many of us to various destinations in Mexico. Well, the good news was they finished that repair in enough time for most of us to still have a shot at making our connections. That was the good news. That's when the pilot said, "But we do have another problem - the copilot's seat just broke." Yeah - right! Now listen, I have flown a lot, but I have never heard of the pilot's seat breaking. Now apparently they don't have a spare copilot's seat at the gate, just in case - it took quite a while to get another one. I got off to make a phone call - and, sure enough, there was a dead seat, lying face down in the jetway. Oh well.

Not long ago, I saw two police cars, blazing down the highway, lights and sirens going strong. Chances are, they didn't decide to go wherever they were going - the dispatcher did. All day long, an officer cruises in his car, listening to the crackle of that police radio. Then suddenly he or she hears something like this - "Unit 3 - disturbance at Franklin and North Ave. - respond immediately." And he's off! Just because the dispatcher told him to.

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.

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.

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.

Well, our kids have reached that age - the age when they're old enough to tell us how we did parenting them. In fact, a while back we got into one of those uproarious "remember when" conversations. The subject was various times we had disciplined them. We explained to them how we had tried to discipline them by the principle of natural consequences - experiencing the most natural negative outcomes in the area where they had disobeyed. So if you did something bad with your mouth, you didn't get to use your mouth for a while - or you got it washed out with soap. If you did something bad with your hands, you didn't get to use your hands for awhile. At which point our eldest son said, "But I never did anything wrong with my bottom!" Which launched a discussion of great spankings we have known - including the ones we are now told didn't hurt. Well, this went on for over an hour. It was a laughing and loving and learning time for all of us - and a reminder of what is probably a parent's biggest challenge.

I wonder if they've ever run out of flowers in England before. Apparently, the florists did when Princess Diana died. No one could have ever predicted the massive public outpouring of love and grief that came from the British people in the week following her death. Remember that sea of flowers that enveloped the front of Buckingham Palace? And Diana's personal residence at Kensington Palace? You couldn't get anywhere near the gates - the flowers seemed to stretch out and around endlessly! Someone who had been close to the Princess said, "Diana had no idea she was loved like this." That's sad. But not unique.

Moving day. Good news, bad news. The process of moving is horrendous - the result - once you find everything you packed - is wonderful. My Administrative Assistant Gayle recently got to experience all that good news and bad news. But actually, the bad news turned out to be not so bad. It could have been bad. Gayle is one woman with some heavy stuff to move - refrigerator, stove, piano. Plus lots of smaller things, of course. I was out of town when Gayle moved - good planning, huh? But I talked to her a few days after the big migration. And all she could talk about was the difference her friends had made. The guys pitched in on the especially exciting things - like the piano. The women carried some of the other items. And even her little nephews joined the team - they carried the little nephew sized stuff. Each person carried what he or she could. Gayle said, "Now when I look at each piece of furniture in my apartment, I think of a person - the one who helped carry that particular burden." The burdens turned out to have a lot of blessing in them - because of friends who helped her carry what she could never carry alone.

What do you call it when your dog has eight puppies? Octuplets? Ocpuplets? If you ask our Radio Production Manager, Curtis, he'd probably say you call it a handful. His dog Sister - no, she's not a relative - had eight puppies recently. And Curtis got to look after them until he could find homes for them. Eight can be a challenge. He told me about one day when he was just trying to get them back into their pen. He said, "I was doing all I could to push those puppies back in. I'd get two or three in - then while I was reaching for another one, one or two would wiggle back out." Well, after a lot of pushing and shoving, he finally gave up for a while. Curtis said, "Here's the funny part" - actually I though the picture of him losing to those puppies was the funny part - anyway, he said that within ten minutes, guess where those rambunctious puppies were - all of them were inside by the pen, without any pushing from him! They chose to do what he couldn't force them to do!

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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