Monthly Archives: May 2010

Asleep at the Wheel

The city has installed two sets of traffic lights in anticipation that one day there will be more traffic at these non-existent intersections near our home. The lights themselves have not been turned on; in fact the traffic lights are turned at a severe angle to demonstrate that these are non-working traffic lights. Time and again I have seen people pull up to these lights and just sit there until someone passes them by or honks. I wonder how many people are driving to or from work in their sleep each day.

One of the scariest drug commercials on television is for a sleep aid which characterizes one possible side effect as “sleep walking or driving.” If you wake up in the night and find yourself driving through a strange part of town in your pajamas, talk to your doctor.

I know there are times when I will arrive at some intersection and think to myself, “I got here quickly,” then I realize I do not remember passing some of my normal landmarks along the way. I guess I was in that dangerous alpha state of driving “on automatic” and letting sheer habit take me home. Getting lost in thought while driving can be just as dangerous as multitasking.

Multitasking is trying to be efficient by doing two or more things at the same time. Multitasking is eating a hamburger, changing the radio station and trying to find where the napkin went while driving 65 mph down the expressway during the lunch hour. It is safer to fly with the Blue Angels than to drive in rush hour traffic as fast as or faster than the speed limit with cars all around you looking to change lanes so they can get there faster than you. And some people may be driving in their sleep.

Why do we do that to ourselves? I find that if I’m not careful, I can be asleep at the wheel in lots of areas of my life. I also find that there are times when I tend to over schedule and take on too many things at once. So apparently the rule is: Stay alert when you drive, and simplify instead of multitask. Now that’s not so hard, is it?

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Pay attention to life. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Dreams in the Night

I had a dream in the night. I dreamt that I had put together a wonderful sermon outline with six major points each containing three beautiful illustrations. (DISCLAIMER: Preacher dreams are not necessarily like real people’s dreams.) I was awake enough to know I was dreaming, but too asleep to move. The points appeared printed on large file cards, perfect for saving. I relished each point and smiled through the illustrations. This was so good I needed to save the dream.

I heard about a preacher who kept a special pad beside the bed for just such occasions. He had spent the money and was telling everyone he knew to buy this special pad. It was like a small box, where the lid could open and you could store papers and an extra pencil inside. But the magic feature of his pad was found in the pen holder on the top. The moment you slid out the pen, the pad gave off a soft glow so you could see enough to write down your bright idea in the night. Unfortunately I did not get one of those. How do you save a dream?

I decided in my sleep I should just create a mental folder called Dreams, save it as a word processing file, label it The Outline, and drag it into my Dreams folder so it would be waiting for me whenever I wanted to look it up. I looked it up the next morning, but for the life of me I do not know where in my head I placed that folder. I do not remember a single point, but trust me, it was an outstanding outline. Maybe I will find it during another dream and devise a more realistic way to save it.

A better way to save your dreams may be to turn them into goals. This is a good time of year to write down five or six goals for the next few months. Make them tangible like: go fishing four times this summer; save $300 by October; or read a novel by July 1. Before long you will be ready to start another, even loftier list. You will be amazed at how satisfied you will feel as more of your dreams/goals are fulfilled.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Live out your dreams. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Graduation Day

I have come to the conclusion that no one should be allowed to give a commencement address who has not already sat through at least 50 of them. It is not that hard to go to 50 graduations in just a few years. If I can do it, so can they. My first graduation was from kindergarten. I went to the kindergarten that was in our church, and so did many of the children who went to my elementary school. We did not have caps and gowns but we were all dressed up. My pastor gave the commencement address. I do not know why.

Young Bro Darryl is on the third row, second from the left.

After kindergarten I graduated five more times: from high school, college, two seminaries and the basic Clinical Pastoral Education program at Tulsa’s Hillcrest Medical Center. Whenever I was tempted to enroll for another degree, I let the mood pass. For high school we gathered at a large convention-type hall and sat by homeroom classes to receive our diplomas. My home room was number 41, out of 43. Baby boomer graduations took nearly forever. At college we graduated out on the football field with our families in the stands. The seminaries’ graduations were held in chapels.

My all-time favorite graduation, though, was not for me. It was for our eldest daughter when she graduated from high school. In those days I was serving on the board of education for Tulsa’s Union Public Schools. I was privileged to personally present our daughter with her diploma. I have the picture of her receiving it and giving me a kiss.

I believe, however, the most important degree any person can receive is named in 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV). I call it the AUG degree. All of us are admonished to “do your best.” What higher degree can there possibly be? Oh to be presented by our Maker on our final commencement day and to hear the loving words “Approved unto God.”

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Do your best. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Mother’s Day 2010

Myrtie Fleming profoundly influenced my spiritual formation as a believer. She did not like the name Myrtie, so she called herself Myrtle. We called her “Gram.” She was my mother’s grandmother and was born in 1882. One of my earliest memories of her was on her 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1953. I had never seen her so dressed up, with a fresh hairdo from the beauty shop and wearing a corsage. My family gathered at my grandmother’s house, which she and my great-grandfather shared with my grandmother, “Gerry,” and young Aunt Norma. I specially remember the professional photographer setting up in the living room to pose her whole family. I had to sit on the bony knees of “Papa” who was not used to hugging or holding young children. For years afterward my family would go to Gerry’s house to have Sunday lunch after church.

I spent many weekends at my grandmother’s house after Papa died. Gerry spent a lot of her time reading and Norma was finishing business school and was out and about. So I hung out with Gram. Before I went to bed at night, and again in the early morning, I would get into her bed and listen to the family stories. After a couple of unfortunate instances I learned to watch out for the hot water bottle hidden in her covers. Sometimes she would pull out of the bed stand a black leather Bible. In it were listed the names of her family members and closest friends. She had written down their birthdates and when they had died. Sometimes a wedding date had been added. My name was in her Bible. So were my sisters and our parents.

Her favorite song was “Rock of Ages” because it was the song her minister father always requested that she sing. I learned nearly as many hymns from Gram as I did in church. She listened to me and sought to answer my questions about God, sorrow and the hard places in the Bible. She taught me about the power of God’s story and the high calling of a minister. I was talking with her the night she had her first stroke. She was the first person I ever stayed with overnight in an emergency room. I got my first traffic ticket driving with my sister Denise over to see her. Hers was the first funeral I ever attended. I still have her Bible. This Sunday is Mother’s Day and I cannot help but ask: Who have been the women of faith that have helped shape your life?

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Thank God for the women of faith in your life. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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