Monthly Archives: November 2010

Holiday Stress

We had a stressful time dealing with airport security last Christmas. We were a couple of days away from departing our ship and heading back to Tulsa from New Zealand. In reviewing the final printout from our travel agent, we discovered she had booked us to fly out of Auckland before the ship could dock. The scrambling began. It was Sunday on the ship and Saturday in Tulsa. A kind Tulsa agent adjusted our flight, including finding a way for us to get back to town from Los Angeles because that segment of the flight had been cancelled and not rebooked!

We got our new itinerary and waited for the big flight home: Auckland—Sydney—Los Angeles—Denver—Tulsa. December 22 is an interesting day to fly across the world. The trouble began in Auckland. We went through security without a hitch, but then we could not find out about our departing flight to Australia. No gate information, no time of departure. Finally the plane arrived, an hour late. We were put on buses to ride to another gate. We boarded our flight and I mentioned to the attendant that our connection to California was now very tight. Later she came back and told us that we would not make our flight to Los Angeles. Still later she said they were going to try to get us on the flight, so she moved us up to be the first off of the plane. And we were.

An airline official was waiting at the gate and told us to run. I could hear our names being called overhead. We headed across the Sydney terminal, down an escalator to the security checkpoint where they looked through all of the stuff and finally let us through. Another airline official took us back around and through the terminal and said we would make the flight, but not our luggage. Finally we arrived at our gate, only to be greeted by another security checkpoint. Dorothy sailed through; I, on the other hand, was asked to have a seat, take off my shoes once again and be inspected. I was perspiring heavily, royally annoyed and embarrassed as we took the “walk of shame” down the long aisle to our seats. About 20 hours later we arrived home—and so did our luggage. That extra time I spent being patted down and rescanned allowed them to get our suitcases on board the flight. What I thought was an unnecessary inconvenience masked the hard work to see us home safely, with our luggage.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Holiday stress may hide a blessing. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Assumptions about others do not matter unless they are wrong. Last week the national media spent more than two days exploring the possibility that a missile had been launched off of the coast of California. They showed a video taken by a helicopter pilot that sort of looked like a missile had been fired. There was even a shiny silver flash at the tip of the vapor trail. It turned out to be the trail of a commercial airliner taking off on a regular route. The illusion of a missile came from the perspective, or angle, that the helicopter placed the camera. The hasty conclusion of a missile launch was wrong.

Last week I stopped by Tulsa’s elite shopping center, Utica Square, to get my free birthday coffee. The place was filled with holiday shoppers and parking was at a premium. On my way back to my car I saw the most beautiful automobile I believe I have ever seen outside of a car show. It was a stately silver Rolls Royce adorned with highly polished silver trimmings. As it passed in front of me I saw there was a chauffer driving two people who were seated in the back of the car. I made two guesses as to who was inside: a wealthy elderly couple or the Lady Dowager Duchess of Tulsie Town herself (whoever that might be) with her personal assistant. I got in my car and drove around the block to see where the Rolls Royce took the passengers.

The chauffer stopped at the front door of a store, but from my position I could not tell which store it was. He got out, dressed in full uniform with the hat, and opened the first door. Out stepped a dark-haired young lady dressed in stylish causal clothes. “Ah ha,” I thought, “the other will be the Duchess.” But when the other woman stepped out of the car she looked as young and as stylish as her friend. They could have been sisters, or a mother and daughter or just good friends. I discovered that they went into Pottery Barn. Maybe they won the lottery and rented the Rolls Royce for the day just to impress people like me. I just do not have enough information to know the real answer. All of my assumptions were wrong. The hard lesson is that almost every time I assume, or presume upon a person or a situation, I am wrong. Just ask my wife.

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

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The Runner

On August 5, 2010 a 34-year-old man, learning a new kind of work, was trapped in a collapsed mine with 32 other Chilean miners. We saw them re-birthed one by one as they traveled 2,300 feet to the surface in a metal capsule. They had lived, survived, prayed and cooperated together for 69 days in semidarkness. Rescue day was October 13. Just three weeks later Edison Pena, the 12th miner rescued, flew to New York City where he recounted his story and sang Elvis songs on “The David Letterman Show.” Then on Sunday, November 7 he ran the 26-mile NY Marathon, completing the race in 5 hours, 40 minutes and 51 seconds, overcoming a knee injury he had received in the mine. “What I did today was a struggle against myself, against the pain I was feeling,” he said after the race.

Later Edison Pena commented that he wanted to inspire others, especially children, to run. While trapped in the mine the others nicknamed him “The Runner” because he spent every day running through the tunnels. Still speaking about completing the marathon, Pena said, “It was worth it because it’s about feeling free; it’s about motivating people; show them that things are possible.”

Edison Pena has found within himself a strength and determination that has transformed his whole life. It will be interesting to see how this “band of brothers” will live out their story. The authorized book, 33 Men, is soon to be published. A millionaire opened $50,000 bank accounts for each miner. Expect a movie or two next year. Then the hard part of their story truly will begin. What will they do with the rest of their lives? It is a question all of us need to address occasionally. Strength, motivation, faith and a community of friends are all needed. But as Edison Pena’s story reminds us, pain is a part of the determination to really live and finish the race.

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

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Time, Change, Live

I was visiting with a lady the other day when she revealed to me that she does not change her clocks twice a year. She and her husband own a very prosperous business. She pointed to her watch and said she keeps it on Standard Time no matter what. I thought that would be too much brainwork for me. She was proud that she would not have to deal with the time change this weekend. I, on the other hand, will lose most of the hour that I was supposed to gain changing clocks. We have 15 clocks at the house, one in each car, plus the office and around church—and I do not wear a watch! This also does not include my VCR which blinks 12:00 every time it hears a clap of thunder.

The problem with Time Change Sunday is the change part. I have always called it “Perfect Excuse Sunday: I forgot to change my clocks.” Many years ago some churches went to great lengths to have their congregations change the time together at the end of morning worship. It did not work. My suggestion has always been to change the clocks on Friday night and recover from the experience on Saturday. In the US, we change clocks on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday in November. The rest of the world changes the time on the last Sunday of March and the last Sunday of October. Change is annoying and complicated. “The only person who wants change,” said Mark Twain, “is a wet baby.”

In order to change anything, there is a price to be paid. One cost of a time change is time changing clocks. When I am confronted by any kind of change, I have to consider what this will cost me personally. How much am I willing to sacrifice in order to see a change in my life? If change is thrust upon me, I must pay for it prepared or not. In order to live, everything must change. If you do not believe in change, turn on the light and look in the mirror. The way to fully live includes the time to change.

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

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