Monday, October 20, 2008


It's 1975. I'm 15 and head-over-heals in love with a very cute, long-haired boy. My best friend and I are on a double date with him and his best friend. It doesn't get much better than this. Young and free...a teenager in love in the summer time. Then the truck broke down.

To make a very long story short, I got home at 1am that night. Now you have to remember that this was the age before cell phones and, where we were, there wasn't even a phone booth. To the guys credit they did try to use the phone at one house, but they didn't exactly look like the Hardy Boys. I wouldn't have opened the door for them either.

When I finally did get home I saw that the house was completely dark. "Great," I thought, "Maybe I can sneak in and mom will never know that I was in way past curfew." I quietly entered the basement and made it up the first flight of stairs, carefully stepping to avoid the squeaky spots. I rounded the corner, past the dark livingroom, to continue up the next flight when, from the dark shadows of the livingroom, I heard the unmistakable sound of my mother quietly clearing her throat. It's a sound I will never forget.
So busted.
I was grounded for one month... I think I got a day for every horrible scenario my mother imagined that night as she sat there in the dark.

Fast forward to a week ago. My parents, now in their late sixties, have gone on a trip of lifetime. They have wanted to go to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry for as long as I can remember. Finally they were getting their chance. They even rented a limousine to pick them up at home and drive them to the airport. They could hardly wait.

Before they left mom said, "Check your email often OK? We'll make sure to stay in touch." Perfect.

They left at 4am Thursday morning. On Saturday we were at my brother's place. "Have you heard from mom & dad?" he asked. "No," I said. "It's wierd that we haven't. Dad has his Blackberry with him all the time." Hmmm.... A few days later I emailed them. "Where are you?" I asked. "Hope you're having fun." No response. A week after they left I am checking my email every 10 minutes. Thursday night I can't fall asleep. Every time I closed my eyes I imagined every kind of horrible scenario and believe me I have a very vivid imagination. It was not pretty. By 1 am I am convinced that the limo driver was deranged and he tied them up and left them in the crawlspace of their house!!

I got up, knowing I would never sleep, and sat in my dark livingroom for a while. What should I do? What if something really did happen to them? Then I remembered that mom gave me their hotel phone numbers in case of an emergency. As far as I was concerned this was an emergency. I'm calling Tennessee!

The hotel lady was very nice and understanding as I babbled on (it's now 3am) about not knowing where my parents were. "I don't need to talk to them, you don't need to wake them up, I just need to know that they checked in, that's all." She clicked away on her computer for a few seconds and then said the words that set my world back in order. "Yes, they're here. Safe and sound."

It's funny how that night in 1975 was the first thing I thought of when I finally crawled back into bed. A little perspective? Or maybe a whole lot of payback? Whatever. When they get home they're grounded!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Object Lessons

When I was in Sunday School I loved it when the teacher would use the flannelgraph to illustrate her story. David & Goliath, Moses in the basket... I can still see those images in my mind.

I remember so vividly my 10th grade Social Studies teacher, climbing on his desk, brandishing a sword, as he told us about the battle at the Plains of Abraham. Go ahead, ask me about that day in history and see if I don't remember.

During any family vacation my father, a 6th grade teacher, would pull over at every 'point of interest' sign. We would look at whatever it was that we stopped for and dad would make sure to point out all the things he felt we should know and learn.

When Jesus saw the poor woman give her last two coins into the treasury he took the opportunity teach his disciples about giving sacrificially. They saw the woman and they saw her sacrifice first hand.

Object lessons.... life is full of them if we take the time to look.

The other day I was doing a little geocaching and it brought me to one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. I thought... if ever there was an object lesson for my life, at this time, this is it. As I looked at this picture of resiliance and strength in the middle of adversity, I realized that I needed the reminder that who I am is because of what I've been through. My trials and struggles have shaped me into the person I am today. I cannot remove them, they are a part of me and my life, but I can decide to grow in spite of them.

Take a look at the object lesson God gave me today.