When I stopped by the park for a visit the other day, there were only three people there: a father, his preschool son, and a middle-aged guy walking his dog. Not long after I arrived, I overheard two conversations that left me intrigued.
One time when I was about eight years old, I was outside with my dad when I heard a bird chirp a three-note melody: “tweet-tweet-tweet.” I looked over at my dad and said, “That bird’s singing a song,” and then I imitated it with a whistle — “tweet-tweet-tweet.” My dad’s face warmed; he gave a soft, kind smile; and his eyes twinkled.
The other night, I was lying in bed feeling anxious about a vexing situation that was out of my control. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. You’re blowing this out of proportion, I told myself, hoping it would help me stop mulling it over. It didn’t.
We should’ve listened to the woman across the counter at the visitor center of Gorges State Park: “You probably shouldn’t take a three-year-old on the hike to Rainbow Falls. It’s a three-mile round trip with steep climbs.” My wife and I ignored her, figuring that our three-year-old would be the exception. Plus, we had our girls, eight and nine, to help along the way.
A few years ago, I was on the verge of my dream job, one I had been working towards for years. Other than a few logistics to settle before I officially signed on the dotted line, it was finally mine– almost. In a last-minute surprise, a shift in funding at the company eliminated the position. I was devastated.
On January 1, 2018, things were not looking good for the new year. My dad died on December 30. I was also in the middle of a months’ long treatment for a chronic illness, and the treatment had left me with ongoing physical symptoms and mood changes. With all of this swirling around me, my demanding job felt 10 times harder. It was too much. If you had asked me to list my top 25 goals for the year, “writing a book” wouldn’t have been one of them — not by a long shot. I didn’t have the time, the will,…
I know someone who’s trapped in a dead-end job right now. He’s been there for years and he’s trying to make the best of it, but realistically, his resume is probably far too stale for him to get a different job for which he’s qualified. I know a woman who has an ongoing chronic condition that doctors can’t fix. You’d never know it if you met her — the embarrassing symptoms, the limitations. She longs for some medical breakthrough that will fix the problem, but there’s little hope for that and for whatever reason, God hasn’t healed her.
Last Friday night, my two-year-old son had a cold that suddenly started getting worse. He began coughing harder and harder, and eventually, he started wheezing. I normally would’ve deferred to my wife on something like this, but she was out of town, so I decided to wait it out. When his breathing became progressively shallow, I drove him to the emergency room in the middle of the night. They told me that a virus had provoked a severe asthma attack.
I wanted the job. I wanted it badly. And a few weeks after making it to the final round of interviews, I learned that I had just missed the cut. I called my friend Shon to share the bad news. “Is the door totally shut?” he asked.
I got my big chance to be a movie star in eighth grade when casting director David Rubin came to Petal, Mississippi, in search of a kid to star in an upcoming Kevin Costner film called “The War.” With great excitement, I got my brother-in-law to drive me to the local high school for my audition.
It was my worst Christmas ever, and it all got ruined by a pine tree, laundry detergent, and some really good intentions.
A few years ago, on Christmas Day, a friend was celebrating with her family when they heard a single, loud pop outside. They didn’t think anything of it, but soon the sound of sirens filled the neighborhood. Their neighbor had walked out to the back patio and shot herself.
I have a friend who will have an empty seat at his Thanksgiving table this year. That seat belonged to his father, who died recently. A few days ago, a doctor told another friend that his dad probably wouldn’t live to see Thanksgiving next year. I have yet another friend who was in a car accident and is in the hospital with serious injuries right now. He will be having Thanksgiving there.
Several years ago in my hometown, a man was driving down the highway with his wife when a tree fell down across the highway, landed right on the cab of their pickup truck, and killed them both. Later that week, I was in a church service in which the pastor referenced the freak accident and said, “Do you think that kind of thing happened by accident? There’s no way.”
I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing when, at nine years old, I was baptized by my father in a river – and I'm OK with that. There are people who think nine years old is premature for a person to be baptized. I'm actually surprised my parents didn't have me do it sooner.