My plane touched down halfway around the world. As we taxied to the airport, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I was exhausted after what had been a grueling twelve-hour flight. Which was understandable considering this was Day 19 on a 21-day international trip. Frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to making my way through customs. I knew from previous experience that some agents in foreign countries attempt to con incoming passengers out of their cash.
If this has happened once, it’s happened dozens of times. Whether I’ve been introduced to a new couple or I’m visiting with old friends, eventually I like to bring the conversation around to their children. I’ll ask, “So, how are your kids doing these days?”
With broad smiles and glowing faces, they’re eager to report the good things going on with several of their kids. So-and-so is “doing great in school” . . . “made honors English” .
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?
When I wrote my first book, Finding Home, I collaborated with Bob DeMoss. Bob and I have a friendship that goes back some twenty years. Last week, Bob’s world was turned upside-down with a family medical emergency. Yesterday he sent me an email with the details. He’s agreed with my request to share the story with you.
The phone rang unusually early for a Monday morning. My sister Becky called from Philly to inform me that my brother Steve (age 49) woke up feeling numbness throughout his right arm and leg.
Here’s one from the travel file.
During the last twenty years I’ve had the opportunity to visit more than seventy countries. One day I’ll tell you about the night I was trapped in a hotel in Moscow on the evening of the Soviet coup to displace Mikhail Gorbachev, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Complete with tanks and soldiers filling Red Square, it’s one of those horrifying experiences movies are made of.
As you probably know, last week a young man wearing black, carrying four guns, opened fire on students at Northern Illinois University. Six are dead. Many more are wounded. Once again, Americans struggle to understand what prompted Stephen Kazmierczak, 27, to snap. Scrambling for answers, the media, as they typically do, turned to the “experts” for their insight. One authority claimed Stephen was “unbalanced” and had stopped taking his medicine . . . another pundit pointed his finger at the role of violent video games in many of these school shootings .
Life is short. It’s longer for some, shorter for others.
Even to live to be 120, in the grand scheme of things – specifically, in view of eternity – life is still short. Which is probably why Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” None of us knows how long we have to live. Moses knew that making the most of our moments on earth comes from gaining God’s perspective on what’s really important.
Let me tell you about an unusual conversation I had the other day. I was speaking with a friend who had left behind a thriving career in order to gain some much needed perspective on his life and family. During his season of reflection he wanted to do something radical. Much to his wife’s surprise – and his children’s glee – he set out to pursue his childhood dream of raising chickens.
Chickens? Rhode Island Reds to be exact.
How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many, you might have purchased a treadmill with an eye on walking more this year. Perhaps it was a membership at the YMCA or a health club, the purchase of a stationary bicycle, or simply buying a new pair of walking shoes to encourage a regular cardiovascular routine.
Perhaps you cut up the credit cards in an effort to dig yourself out of debt.
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).