I’m a blessed man. My job allows me to meet incredible people and taste different slices of life that I might not otherwise have experienced. As previously reported, I’ve enjoyed the thrill of watching a NASCAR race from the best seat in the house–on pit road. I’ve hit the road on the back of a Harley with friends. And I had the chance of a lifetime to watch a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park.
My dad was passionate about baseball.
As a young boy, I remember listening to my dad telling stories about the year he played for the Detroit Tigers. As I mention in my book FINDING HOME, there are two reasons why it’s a bit difficult to prove whether or not Dad actually wore the Tiger’s uniform for a season.
First, he’s dead. This, of course, complicates asking him any follow-up questions on the subject.
The second issue has to do with my last name.
There are nice beaches – and then there are really nice beaches.
During spring break my family and I discovered one of the most beautiful slices of sand and surf in the country – thanks to an extremely generous friend who gave us the gift of saying at their beach house. It’s a picturesque town called Seaside, located on the Florida panhandle halfway between Panama City and Pensacola. Forgive me if I sound like a travel agent, but Seaside will take your breath away.
A couple of years ago, I sat on the sofa listening to two friends making the case why I should write a book. They said things like, “As the new president of Focus, there will be tons of interest from folks wanting to learn about the man God called to lead the ministry” and “You’ve got such a compelling life story that could help so many people.”
I remained unsure.
While I understood their reasoning and their passion to see me talk openly about the insanity that was my life for so many years, I just didn’t think writing a book – at least not a book about my story – was the way to go.
One of my favorite movies is the Princess Bride. At one point in this playful story, Westley, a.k.a. “Farm boy” and the “Dread Pirate Robert” looks the lovely Princess Buttercup in the eye and offers this sobering bit of insight: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Westley was right. Life on this side of the Garden of Eden is filled with pain. Anybody dealing with a terrible two-year-old knows this. Anybody suffering in a bad relationship knows this.
I wish I had met John and Amelia Rocchio.
The Guinness Book of Records honored the couple as holding the world record for staying married the longest – 83 years. If given the chance to visit with them, I would have asked what they did to fuel the flames of romance for eight decades. Did they go on regular dates? Did they take trips to exotic places? Or, did they incorporate simple pleasures like candle light dinners at home, or hold hands on regular walks through their Rhode Island neighborhood?
If there’s one thing that I can almost guarantee in 2008, it’s that you and I will encounter struggles in our marriage or family life. This is, after all, a fallen world. Things break. Relationships become strained. Misunderstandings happen. Sickness happens. Life gets messy. Even Jesus as He walked on this earth refused to sugar coat reality. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).