Your Relationships

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!

What mental picture comes to your mind when you hear these words, "They keep going and going and going." Do you see this rabbit with sunglasses? Do you hear the drumbeat from the bass drum he's beating on as he moves across your TV screen? Then the people who created those Energizer battery ads have succeeded! Actually, batteries are a pretty boring thing to advertise. But most of us have watched with amusement as this particular brand of batteries keeps that crazy bunny going and going and going.

If you've got a house, you may complain every once in a while about the constant upkeep. It seems like as soon as you get one thing cared for, something else needs attention, the windows, the roof, the yard, the plumbing, the paint. Well, be glad you're not in charge of the maintenance of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not long ago I was standing by San Francisco Bay, admiring the impressive beauty of that great bridge, when someone told me what it takes to keep it impressive. Like 35 painters! Every day! That's all they do! The trucks roll out early every morning with another load of that distinctive orange paint and for eight hours a day those 35 painters are somewhere on that bridge, keeping it in good shape. Things deteriorate so fast, it takes constant effort to maintain the beauty.

I'm a tornado and hurricane kind of guy. I mean I don't like them but, I've lived where you learn about those things. I'm not an earthquake kind of guy, I've never lived where those mattered much. But when I was in San Francisco recently, I was where earthquakes are a big deal! Most people there still have dramatic stories to tell about what happened during that big quake in 1989, the one that interrupted the third game of the World Series. Some of the heaviest damage and injury was in the Marina District of San Francisco. We went there to tape part of a radio program, in fact, we were right on the corner of Beach Street and Divisadero where several buildings collapsed or burned, including one that had been totally consumed by fire. One of the neighbors described the scene for us, one very different from this quiet neighborhood with beautiful rebuilt homes. The night of the quake it was total chaos. This neighbor described that awful fire with the unbearable heat that had destroyed the building on the other corner. He said, "The fire started out with a gas leak - it was very small. If I could have gotten over there, I literally could have put it out with a bucket of water. But then it started to spread and pretty soon there was no way to stop it."

            

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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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