We never know what the person right next to us is going through. Any act of kindness, even a small one, might be the hope they need to survive another day. Becky shares haunting words about a little boy who sat next to her for years.
We’ve all been the victim of “words that kill.” Someone has said something to us that has stuck with us for years. Listen as Becky shares the horrible thing someone said to her about being born with one arm. Yes, words can kill. But words can also give life.
“You go help them and I’ll call 9-1-1!” I yelled.
Tim and I had been casually exploring the tiny mining town of Central City, Colorado, founded during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. We felt as if we were on the set of an old western movie. Saloons and casinos with names like “Easy Street” and “Bonanza” lined both sides of the narrow Main Street. We ate lunch at Millie’s Restaurant and poked around in Annie Oakley’s Emporium and General Store.
As we stepped out of the general store, the sound of a racing engine caused us to glance to the right. The sound was coming from a van and the van was flying down the hill toward the row of buildings across the street from us—no squealing tires—no brakes applied. Just before colliding with the end building, the van veered sharply to the right and crashed head-on into a rock wall.
Tim ran toward the accident and I grabbed my phone from the outside pocket of my purse. My hand was shaking so badly that I could hardly swipe the screen to unlock it. I hit “9-1-1″ and had my finger on “Send” when a voice from behind me boomed, “Melvin is on the way!”
I spun around to find myself face-to-face with the sales clerk from Annie Oakley’s. “I already called and Melvin is on the way!” she repeated. It took me a second to realize what she was talking about. But then I heard it—the lone siren from one street away.
Are we in Mayberry? I wondered.
Melvin, Central City’s one on-duty police officer, arrived within seconds. He and Tim helped six dazed and bloody people climb out of the smoking van. One whiff of the air surrounding them made it quite clear that alcohol was involved. Melvin checked everybody over carefully and, miraculously, no one had major injuries. The driver attempted to inconspicuously mosey off, but Melvin was on her like Andy Griffith. That bunch definitely dodged the bullet of a tragic accident. Now, however, they were in big trouble with Melvin!
“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon” (Psalm 31:24 MSG).
“High-waters” are what we called them—pants that hit at the ankle, pants that had been outgrown. All of Willy’s pants were high-waters.
When I was ten, my family moved from Franklin-Madison Road to Germantown Road. That’s when I started riding the same school bus as Willy. I got on first, at the bottom of the hill, and he got on a few minutes later, at the top of the hill. He was tall and lanky and a bit awkward. He’d climb the bus steps, walk slowly down the aisle, and plop into the first empty seat. He almost always sat alone.
One day as Willy walked past me, I invited him to sit with me. He smiled and sat down. We began to talk. We talked… and we talked… and we talked. The next day he sat with me again. And we talked… and we laughed… and we talked. Every day after that, Willy and I sat together on the bus. He seemed hungry for a friend and I enjoyed his happy spirit. We didn’t really run with the same crowds at school, but when we’d see each other, we’d always wave. We were bus buddies and that overrode any social lines set for us by kids at school. We shared a seat for years—I guess until I got my first car at seventeen and started driving to school.
Time passed, graduation happened, and I lost touch with Willy. It wasn’t until our twenty-year class reunion that I saw him again. It was great to see him. We picked right back up where we left off, talking and laughing. And then out of nowhere, Willy’s countenance changed. He became somber, leaned in toward me, and spoke softly. Continue Reading…
I have always known that I was born to fly. As a little kid, I was the president of the clubhouse. My siblings and cousins still tease me about how I made them pay dues. In junior high I started writing articles for the school newspaper in fifth grade and ended up being the editor by eighth grade. In high school I was elected class treasurer as a freshman and by my junior year, I was class president. During college I loved my job as the activity director of a nursing home. I changed my major from computer science to gerontology (the study of aging) and became a nursing home administrator by age twenty-two. At twenty-eight, I was overseeing senior adult ministries for a church on a volunteer basis. I found it to be so fulfilling that I switched careers and became a full-time pastor. You see the pattern. I’ve never spent too much time searching for worms in the ground before something in the blue sky above catches my attention and draws me treetop-ward.
And that’s exactly what happened again last year. My husband Tim and I went on an amazing Hawaiian adventure in June. Our cruise ship Pride of America transported us from Honolulu to Maui to Hilo to Kona to Kauai. We drove the winding Road to Hana, searched for (and found) Moloaa Bay where the pilot of Gilligan’s Island was filmed, took a hula dancing class, ate coconut macadamia ice cream, and stuck our feet in the turquoise water of Waikiki Beach. We relaxed a little and played a lot.
After arriving home, I posted on Facebook: “I want to be a tour director when I grow up!” It made me smile to say it. Twenty-five years as a pastor had taken its toll on me. I was exhausted and beat down from dealing with conflicts and tragedies and problems for such a long time. Wouldn’t that be the best job ever, I thought. Continue Reading…
The nurses began preparations for my dental implant surgery. They lowered my head in the procedure chair and had me scoot to the top. Standing to my left, Nurse #1 unfolded the blood pressure cuff. Standing to my right, Nurse #2 gathered supplies to insert the IV.
Nurse #1 reached toward my left arm. I took great pride in telling her that it is prosthetic and might not give such an accurate blood pressure reading. She was clearly caught off guard.
Thus a conversation of adaptions ensued. My entire life is about adaptions. Adaptions aren’t a bad thing. They force us to exercise our brains to figure out Plan B’s.
“Can we have the blood pressure cuff on the same arm as the IV?” Nurse #1 asked.
Nurse #2 paused for a minute. “Yes, I’ll just have to put the IV in her wrist instead of her elbow,” she responded.
Nurse #2 stuck the needle in my wrist fairly painlessly and got the IV started. Nurse #1 moved to my right side and positioned the blood pressure cuff on my upper arm. Then she clipped a pulse oximeter to the end of my index finger.
My right arm was pretty tied up, if you know what I mean. And I was ok with that until… my nose started itching. At first I tried to convince myself that my nose wasn’t itching—that didn’t work. Then I tried thinking about traveling to New Mexico, my next vacation destination—that didn’t work either. So I moved on to the famous “Bewitched” method, wiggling the nose up and down, left and right, using facial muscles—it only seemed to make it itch more. Just as a bit of claustrophobia was rising within me, the surgeon walked into the room and shot the happy serum into the IV. Ahhhh, my nose stopped itching.
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11 NASB).
“The Colorado Rocky Mountain high… I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky… Talk to God and listen to the casual reply… Rocky Mountain High…” I blasted that song from my iPod and sang those words at the top of my lungs as Tim and I explored the little mountain towns around Denver for the first time. I did feel high in a way, from the inspiring beauty of the mountains surrounding me. I wanted to soak in every sight, every taste, every smell, every sound, on this, my last day in the Wild Wild West.
(Sorry for the year-long delay in completing my posts about the Wild Wild West. I got side-tracked publishing a book.)
After breathtaking trips to New England in the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010, I couldn’t imagine that the West would ever compare. But by Day 7 of our Wild Wild West trip, I had completely changed my mind. I loved the West… just as much… maybe even more.
1. The University of AL football team won the National Championship for the third time in four years on January 7, 2013. As it is fun to be a fan of a winning team, I have become one. Tim and I went to our first game at the 100,000-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium in September. What a crazy wonderful experience. Roll Tide!
It always seemed so creepy to me for a person to get their grave headstone carved in advance—name, birthdate, a dash, and a blank spot for the death date. However, after a visit to the cemetery with Aunt Treva, I felt differently.
I asked my great-aunt if she would be my guide on a historical tour through the Germantown Cemetery in Germantown, Ohio. I knew many of my ancestors were buried there. I was especially interested in locating the grave of Isaac Selby, my great-great-grandfather. I had chosen the name Isaac for my own son from the family tree and wanted a picture of Isaac Selby’s grave for his baby book.