Your Relationships

I think I was a kid the last time I saw a three-legged race - it was at a Sunday School picnic. I resurrected the three-legged race a while back to illustrate a point to a group of teenagers. In case you've missed the thrill of a three-legged race, here's how it works. The racers run in teams of two. You tie the left leg of one to the right leg of the other, and they run the course as best they can like that. Run might be a slight exaggeration. They skip, they shuffle, they stagger, they limp - but run? Not really. It's really hard to run when you're tied to someone else who's slowing you down!

One of our ministry team is a pretty enthusiastic auto-racing fan. If you're into that sport, then you know that Jeff Gordon is one of the best in the business. One of the people that helped him get to that position is the man who has been head of his pit crew. You've seen those high-speed cars swing into their service pit and only seconds later roar back into the race. My racing fan friend told me recently about a TV special on Jeff Gordon. On it, they interviewed the head of his pit crew - who, by the way, has a degree in organizational behavior. He revealed just how amazing the work of the pit crew is in a sport where seconds really matter. The pit crew chief said they will change up to 20 tires in one race - just think of what those speeds must do to a tire! And they change a complete set of four tires in 13 seconds - that's faster than I can finish off a bite of my dinner! The driver is the name everyone knows - but the driver knows he's nothing without his pit crew!

My daughter and I hugged a lot when she was little. Even when she got to be a grownup college student, we would still declare "hug alerts." Sometimes, when I hug my daughter, she'll say, "You smell like Daddy." Now, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Now she hugs other men, of course - her husband, most of all, her brothers. She tells me that they smell like themselves, too. I guess it's good that I smell like Daddy - I'd hate to smell like someone else. The fact is that people do have a distinctive aroma, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant. And we remember the smell they leave behind.

As our kids were growing up, Saturday was always chore day at the Hutchcraft house. It was the day we got our leaves raked and bagged, rooms got cleaned - or hosed out like a monkey cage - it was the day the garage got dug out, the dirty clothes got clean, broken things got fixed, you know. Now it wasn't that kids jumped out of bed on Saturday morning saying, "What do you have for me to do today, Dad?" No, Saturday mornings often involved some delicate labor negotiations - especially when it came to someone getting a job that meant more time and more dirty work than some of the others. That child might say, "I don't want to do Job A. I want Job B." To which I would reply, "I pay the allowances and the bonuses around here. (See, usually there was extra pay for extra work). Don't forget lesson #1 of working - you don't pick your jobs. The person who pays you decides the jobs you'll do."

My wife accuses me of being a creature of habit. I prefer to think of myself as "structured," you know. But I do exhibit some behaviors that are a bit compulsive. I don't think I'm dangerous, though. For example, it does not matter what time I get in from the airport or the interstate after a trip, there is one thing I will do before I got to bed. I will unpack. Sure, it's 2:00 A.M., but I will get everything back to its proper place. An unpacked suitcase will pursue me all night long if I don't. Now sometimes my sweet wife will try to inject a little common sense by simply asking, "Why not unpack tomorrow?" Of course, she doesn't know that's totally illogical. I'm not home until I'm unpacked. Neither are your children.

Apparently, the airlines know you have to keep us Americans amused. They try to keep something happening on those video screens during much of the flight. If it's a long flight, you get a movie. If it's a shorter flight, you get shorts - not to wear, I mean, the kind you watch on the screen. And I'm usually so busy amusing myself with all the work I have to do, I don't pay much attention to the screen. But on this one flight, I did occasionally glance up at the girls' gymnastics competitions they were showing in the sports highlights. The big competition was between the United States and Russia, so my star-spangled blood was pulling for you-know-who. After each girl performed, they would do this little replay. I never saw a replay of anything she did right. They insisted on showing two or three times where she messed up. "Look, everybody - see the one thing she did wrong." That bothers me.

We have a wonderful Christian radio station in our area. Well, it's wonderful if you can hear it. A lot of people can. But I just talked with a friend who lives another direction who says she just can't pick up that station where she is. But then I've met people who live in a part of the area where the station has a strong signal - and they've never heard it either. They have never turned to that frequency. Important information is being communicated over that station - actually, eternally important information. But a lot of people are missing it. Some because the transmitter isn't transmitting their direction. And others because their receiver isn't tuned into that frequency!

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.

            

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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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