I'll never forget the summer we heard the story about the moonshiner. We were on vacation and we'd just made some new friends, Bill and Darlene. They lived on this beautiful farm. But not always. When they first moved to the south, they lived in a fairly primitive cabin along a river.
You know, a sunny winter day can fool you. You look out the window and tell yourself, "It looks warm." Then you go out there and you 'shiver your timbers' and catch a cold! But there is something that the sun can really warm even on a cold winter day.
Here's what my airline ticket said: Friday afternoon Ron will fly from Newark to Houston. 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 I know that my flight would be delayed for a last-minute repair. Many passengers were concerned because they, too, had connecting flights in Houston and then on to various destinations in Mexico.
Not many parents can sleep very soundly until they know their children are in for the night. My wife and I always asked our big, teenage guys to stop by our room no matter how late it was and let us know they were home. Some of the most beautiful words in the English language to us were: "Mom, Dad, I'm home." Isn't it natural to want a 'fix' on where your kids are? Maybe you know a child who is way overdue.
There have been a number of movies and television shows about angels taking human form."Touched By An Angel" was a television series that ran for nine seasons. You can still find it in "re-run." I remember this particular episode (for some reason, it really stuck with me) where a young angel was kneeling at the feet of a man who I think had been a homeless guy. I think maybe he had been in prison, and he just was pretty unkempt. Didn't look like much of a match for an angel. But the angel had this basin of water, and the man was telling her not to do what she was about to do. The angel was about to wash this old guy's feet. But she looked at him with tears in her eyes and she gave an answer that came from deep in her heart. She said, "I have to do this so I remember who I am." That stuck.
Like most families, our family looks forward to Christmas traditions. And several of those traditions have to do with calories. Maybe the best of those traditions would be Christmas cookies! One year when our kids were young, my wife broke her hand in a traffic accident. And she has been the baker of the cookies. So, the kids went into mild shock, "Oh no! Christmas without Mom's cookies?" So she attempted to explain what it took to make them. Friends of ours, who knew the tremendous trauma our kids were in, offered to bake some of her recipes.
It's not uncommon for me to meet a truck driver who says, "Yeah, as I travel across the country I know what station you're on and we listen to that program. I listen to Christian radio across the country." Well, that's nice to hear. And so I've learned from truckers, of course, that CB radio is very important to them. Actually, a few years ago, there was a national craze of CB radio. And we actually picked up some words in our vocabulary from that time. The CB invasion left us with words like a policeman is called a "Smokey." Your name is your "handle." When everything's OK, you're supposed to say, "10/4 good buddy." I like the phrase that CB'ers use when they want to see if you're tuned in. They say something like this, "You got your ears on?"
My story! Yeah, that's what made kids want to play with me when I was little. Wait a minute! Is this how "A Word With You" got started? No, I love to make up stories. I don't make them all up, you know, I do tell you true stories too. But I was giving my friends parts in a story that I would make up and they would act out. But I always left it at an exciting part that was this cliff-hanger so they'd want to come back tomorrow and see how it turned out. I also had some time, then, to figure out how to get out of the predicament I had just created.
That night our car was totaled in an accident, and thank God, we weren't. We were hit by a drunk driver, and I had no car to get around in for the month of December, which was a very busy month for the youth ministry that I worked for at that time. I received a call from a friend one day. Much to my surprise, he said, "Ron, could we lend you a car for the next few weeks while we're in Florida." This was like a huge answer to prayer. I said, "Well, bring me the oldest one you have."
When our children were young, my wife and I toured the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg. And then, years later, we visited it again and Chad, one of our team members, was with us. My wife and Chad are both from "the South", so my wife enjoyed this trip to Gettysburg more than the previous one, because you've got two Confederates versus one Yank there. I was outnumbered. We had a pretty memorable time retracing the battle across those hills and those fields where a lot of our nation's future was decided.