Our minds cannot comprehend. Our prayers do not make sense. Our hearts cannot forgive. But that’s why He gave us His.
I think about football when I remember my dad. I think about cigarettes when I recall late nights on the porch with my college roommate. When I think about my Mom, I’m reminded of church. My wife makes me think about shampoo. My eldest child makes me think about my wedding. My youngest daughter makes me think about smiling. My fourth makes me think about how much I hate surprises. My youngest makes me think about grace. Ben – my oldest son – makes me think about my dad. And when I remember my dad, I think about football.
This isn’t a post about football or church or Marlboro Lights or even shampoo. It’s about that thing -- whatever it may be -- that stirs us to think, react, remember or take a stand. I read recently that the average American is “approached” more than 6,000 times a day by marketing messages, advertising and sales pitches. If that’s true, it must be that some of this stuff is happening to us, around us, or through us without us even knowing it. I am certainly not cognizant of “more than 6000 outside messages every day.” I watch Netflix, check Twitter, and sometimes hear a radio spot for radial tires or buffalo wings or mortgage loans while listening to sports talk, but not much sinks in. Maybe one or two messages on a good day.
Why is that? Is it because I don’t care about tires and buffalo wings? I don’t think so (because I can tell you with every bit of sincerity that’s in me that I care deeply for buffalo wings). I think the stuff that moves us, does so because we have a personal relationship with it. We’ve experienced it or shared it or talked about it at length while slowly contracting cancer on the back steps of an apartment in a shady area of downtown Birmingham.
We live (whatever it is) because we care about the folks with whom we’re living it.
I think more than 6,000 messages a day miss the target. I think we’re all searching for more than that. I think we need to focus on what’s in front of us and around us and within us to make memories and decisions. I think we need to stop looking at delivering a message and start thinking about how to make folks think about football and cigarettes and shampoo.
What do you think?
We rolled up in the parking lot at 6:33 am. Three minutes late. The boys bounced out of the car, ran in the side door, and were greeted with smiles and high-fives. I applied three drops of Visine to each eye, wiped my face, and exhaled, “God help me.”
In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. —Aeschylus
Smile more! Even when you don’t feel like it. Because smiling changes everything. It can’t fix you, but it might fix someone else. And this is one of those times when giving means receiving even more. You never know what encouragement a smile can bring until you’ve received one in a time of need.
We’d pay our eight-dollars and proceed to play as many rounds as possible before dark with stolen range balls from the Percy Warner Golf Park. It wasn’t even called a course… It was a golf park for the love of Robert Trent Jones!
He stood there shakily, wide-eyed and watching. He took his gaze off of my reflection in the mirror only once, to show me his foam-covered teeth up close.
After a yelp and a pitiful little cough, Merrie let loose of just about everything she’d consumed over the past week: Hot dogs, gummy worms, Kool-Aid, green bean casserole, corn chips, vegetable soup, cheese puffs, popcorn, barbecue chicken salad, spaghetti, Lucky Charms, milk, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, Hamburger Helper, strawberry ice cream and little bits of an almost-digested granola bar.
Most of my conversations lately have been about things that suck. Sometimes it's good to remind yourself that there are a lot more things that don't…
12 years ago, I held this breath from heaven in my arms and I knew immediately that I was changed. I was a daddy, and she was my world – wrapped in a soft, pink and blue hospital blanket. At some point along the way, I seemed to forget the awe I felt knowing that God had blessed me beyond anything I could have ever imagined or hoped for. At some point, this little miracle became a little girl and the little girl became more of an obligation than a glimpse of God’s radical love and favor.
Here's a story you've heard before alongside a picture of me in my kitchen.
There are red and brown and orange and green and some very strange black stains on the carpets in my den, bedroom, and study. And there are half-eaten lollipops stuck to the back of my favorite chair.
The words left my body faster than I could think. I tried to get them back, but they were already out there, bouncing off of tiny ear drums and swirling up to the heavens.
She likes to play Candy Crush, do bills, and make lists to relax. I like to Tap the Rockies and dip Nilla Wafers in peanut butter. To each his own.